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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Aug. 26, 2015

It was recently announced that Florida is leading the county in both boating accidents and deaths. Specifically, there were close to 600 accidents and 70 related deaths reported last year alone—triple the amount that occurred in New York, which came in second place.

Experts suggest that the total number of accidents likely does not reflect the total number of injuries because federal regulations only require boaters to report those that involve an injury beyond first aid and/or a death or disappearance, and damage to vessels over $2,000 or a complete loss.

Causes of Boating Accidents in Florida

According to the official report released by the U.S. Coast Guard, the top four causes of accidents in the state are:

  • Failure to pay attention;

  • Inexperience;

  • Distraction; and

  • Speeding.

Inexperience in part may be due to the relaxed requirements for operating a boat; all you need is a boater’s safety education card—and only those born after January 1, 1988 are required to complete a course. Because of this, many boaters out on the water have not received any kind of exposure to training whatsoever.

Missing Teenage Boys

Most Florida citizens have heard about the two teenage boys who went missing off the coast of Florida in late July after they took their fishing boat out onto the Atlantic Ocean without adult supervision. Although the boys’ families claim that they were excellent boaters, this is an indication of just how dangerous boating can be, regardless of age or experience. The boys have still not been found, although their capsized boat was discovered.

It is suspected that inclement weather is ultimately responsible for their disappearance. This has some advocates for more boat regulations calling for more supervision of boating in Florida—perhaps a requirement that underage boaters must have an adult with them if they go offshore. Marine safety experts have said that teenagers can spend years—entire childhoods—on the water, and yet still be unprepared for severe emergencies.

Boating Accident Claims

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a boater, these claims can be complex because there are maritime laws involved at the state, federal, and international level. Who is liable, and what standard they are held to, can largely depend on where your accident specifically took place. Some of these claims have traditionally been related to:

  • The boat operator deciding to go out in inclement weather, resulting in the boat capsizing and those on it to get hurt;

  • Injuries due to excessive speeding;

  • Failing to carry necessary safety equipment that could have saved lives;

  • Colliding with objects or other boats; and/or

  • Overloading the vessel with too many people.

Mike Walker Law

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.