When it comes to personal injury cases, the most common scenarios that come to mind are either car accidents or slip and fall incidents. And, while those are certainly common ways in which people get injured, Florida — by virtue of its location and year-round summer activities — is also home to many boating accidents. How common are they? And, what causes them in the first place?
The Top 5 Causes of Boating Accidents
The same way a person has to understand how to operate a car before driving it, boats require certain knowledge about applicable state laws, federal regulations, and Coast Guard directives. In fact, Florida requires boating operators born on or after January 1, 1988, to have on them a boating safety identification card. Such a card is awarded upon completion of a boating safety education course that meets the minimum requirements established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administration or passed an examination developed and approved by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Operating a boat with willful disregard for the safety of other people in the water, nearby boats, and property constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor. As a boat operator, it is your responsibility to be aware of posted restrictions as well as mind traffic of other boats. Watch for ordinances establishing idle speed, no wake boating-restricted areas, minimum wake boating-restricted areas, and speed limits.
3. Boating Under the Influence
Florida Statures Chapter 327.35 establishes that anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 is considered to have impaired faculties. Boating under such conditions could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail for a first conviction.
4. Weather Conditions
Anyone who’s familiar with Florida weather can attest that the Sunshine State experiences thunderstorms in the middle of a sunny day. So while the skies may look clear at the beginning of your boating expedition, you may find yourself in the middle of inclement weather. This is why it’s crucial to always check the hourly weather conditions before heading out to sea. Also, make sure to have adequate safety equipment — such as a compass, marine radio, flares, anchor, sound signals, a fire extinguisher, drinking water, and life vests for everyone on board. In fact, Florida law requires Coast Guard-approved life jackets in all personal watercrafts for children younger than six years of age.
5. Mechanical Failures
If the reason for your accident was caused by a mechanical failure, several people and/or entities could be held accountable. This includes the manufacturer, seller, or whoever provides service and maintenance. Your attorney will begin a process called discovery — where records and testimony are requested — to determine whether there was negligence involved. That being said, if you own the boat, it’s also your responsibility to conduct routine maintenance. If the boat is a rental, the rental company has that same responsibility.
Call Us at Clark Law for a Consultation
There are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was involved in a boating accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step. We can also ensure that you receive proper compensation for any present as well as future medical expenses relating to your neck injuries.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.