New Report Reveals Significant Increase In Florida Boating Accidents In 2020
Florida is a boater’s paradise for many people, including both residents and visitors. However, the state’s waters can also be perilous. In fact, according to a report recently released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida has the highest number of boating accidents in the country. This is something that all boaters should keep in mind, as this year has seen the largest number of people out on the water in recent years. Unfortunately, even those who use the greatest care could end up injured in an accident with a negligent driver, so if you or a loved one were hurt in a boating accident, you should reach out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer for help recovering compensation for your losses.
How Common are Boating Accidents in Florida?
According to the FWC’s report, there were at least 836 boating accidents in Florida last year, a number that represents a 16 percent increase from 2019. These numbers are particularly alarming due to the dangerous nature of boating accidents. Last year’s accidents, for instance, resulted in 534 injuries and 79 deaths. Most of these accidents occurred in May, though there were also spikes in July and September, both of which have major holidays that are often celebrated on or near the water. However, last year the deadliest month for boaters was March, when ten deaths were reported in four weeks.
What Causes Boating Accidents?
Like car accidents, boating accidents can occur for a number of reasons, many of which involve negligence. For instance, inattention and a failure to maintain a proper lookout were a top cause of boating accidents last year, while alcohol or drug use was cited as a factor in nearly one-quarter of all boating deaths. Often, these deaths are the result of falls overboard, followed by drowning. Towed water sports, like inner tubes, windsurfing, and parasailing are also involved in a number of accidents, with these sports accounting for 37 injuries and nine deaths last year alone. Personal watercraft, including Jet Skis, on the other hand, were involved in nearly 30 percent of all boating accidents. A further 45 percent of those accidents involved collisions, either with another watercraft or a stationary object.
Who is Liable for Florida Boating Accidents?
Liability for a boating injury will depend on the details of the accident in question. Operators who drive recklessly or negligently, however, can expect to bear some responsibility for damages, as can the owner of the boat if the driver:
- Took the boat out in unsafe conditions;
- Capsized a vessel by turning the wrong way into a wave;
- Failed to keep adequate safety equipment onboard;
- Drove too fast;
- Was driving while under the influence; or
- Failed to pay attention while driving.
Some boat operators can be held liable for injuries even if they never make contact with another boat. This often occurs when another boat’s wake causes a vessel to capsize. Finally, marinas can be held liable for renting boats to unsafe or unqualified operators, or for failing to properly maintain their vessels.
Call Today for a Legal Case Review
To speak with an experienced injury lawyer about seeking compensation for your own boat-accident related injuries, please call Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 today.