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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Sept. 23, 2015

Labor Day is a day to celebrate time off with families. Florida residents typically like to relax by going out to parks, having barbecues, or even going on a day cruise on the water. However, for the many that were on an airboat in Gator Park (Miami) on Monday September 7, Labor Day was not very enjoyable, as a number of them were involved in a serious crash and had to be transported to a local hospital.

One of the passengers described the accident as preventable—allegedly, many of those on the boat could see that the crash was coming, and tried to prepare themselves. Some passengers cited the source of the problem as speeding.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which typically handles recreational accidents like these in Florida waters, also noted that there was a miscommunication between the two boat drivers. According to officials, 21 people had to be transported to hospitals to treat their injuries; others lost their personal belongings in the water. FWC is currently conducting an investigation of the accident.

Boats in Florida Largely Unregulated For Recreational and Commercial Drivers

It comes as no surprise that Florida leads the country in the number of boating accidents and deaths each year. Speeding, distraction, and failure to pay attention are all amongst the leading causes of accidents in the state, and were arguably at issue in the Gator Park incident on Labor Day.

However, Florida’s relaxed requirements for boat operators are also arguably at issue; not only are they minimal for recreational boat drivers, but for those who operate commercial boats like the airboats at Gator Park. Florida’s rules largely govern initial registration and titling, and even airboat-specific regulations largely pertain to what types of devices the boat must be equipped with and less about training and experience for drivers. What result does this have for vacationers in the state who seek out professional boats because they personally cannot operate one? We rely on these companies to have our safety in mind and ensure that their boat drivers are experienced enough to operate these vessels without injuring us.

Boating Claims

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a company that operates a commercial boat, trying to bring a claim can be complex because there are maritime laws involved at the state, federal, and international levels. Who is liable, and what standard they are held to, can largely depend on the circumstances. Traditionally, some of these claims have related to:

  • Injuries due to speeding;

  • Failing to carry necessary safety equipment

  • Colliding with objects or other boats; and

  • Overloading the vessel with too many people.

Contact Us Today for Assistance

Attorney Mike Walker is dedicated to recovering damages on behalf of these boating injury victims. Mike Walker has significant experience representing those injured in boating accidents, and is prepared to put this to work for you today. Call the office or complete the online form to schedule a consultation in Clearwater.