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Boating Accidents In Florida

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Being out on the water is generally a much-anticipated recreational activity for many Floridians. Whether it’s a canoe or motorboat, a kayak or rowboat, Floridians can’t seem to get enough of the sunshine and fun.  But when water sports lead to injuries or death, the heartbreak cannot be overstated.  If you or a loved one has experienced serious harm or death due to the negligence of another, seeking the assistance of an experienced local personal injury attorney may be a good idea. 

Accident Statistics 

There are a lot of boats—nearly 100,000 registered vessels and likely ten times that many that are not registered– out on the waterways in the Sunshine State. That’s the biggest number in the nation, and it keeps growing.  In 2020 alone, there were over 800 boating accidents reported, which was about 175 more than the previous year. 46 percent of these accidents involved a collision with another boat. Now that’s a frightening statistic.  But one of the most harrowing numbers is the death toll: 79 people were killed in boating accidents—the majority involving motor boats. About half of them died by drowning, while just over one-third succumbed to trauma.

Issues Impacting Injuries and Fatalities 

Without question, a number of factors influence the occurrence of accidents and their outcomes.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Over two-thirds of boat operators involved in fatal accidents have had no formal boat education;
  • Roughly three-fourths of drowning victims were not wearing a flotation device.

Common Causes of Accidents 

According to Boat Safety Magazine, these are the most common issues leading to accidents:

  1. Running out of fuel:  When boaters fail to plan, the possibility of getting stuck without gas in the tank can be more than an inconvenience; it can be dangerous.
  2. Grounding the boat: A dramatic and humiliating event, this can also lead to injuries from the jarring motion, and could even cause someone to fall overboard;
  3. Sinking: Whether due to damage from a crash or problems with the through-hull fitting, when a boat goes down everyone is at risk;
  4. Fires on Board: While uncommon, fires due to fuel leaks or spills could be a horrendous experience;
  5. Mechanical Malfunctions: Electrical issues, a dead battery, and other mechanical problems can leave you stranded, and at night, pretty much invisible;
  6. Nighttime Speeding: When drivers don’t adapt for the circumstances, it can be dangerous.
  7. Limited or Nonexistent Safety Gear: It’s unlawful to load your boat with more people than well-fitting life jackets. Other gear that should be on board include flares, lights, a horn, an anchor, and a paddle.
  8. Ignoring the Weather Forecast:  It’s essential to know what to expect from mother nature—and honestly, it’s not that hard to get the information;
  9. Poor Lookout: Pay attention.  Be aware of other vessels and swimmers in the area;
  10. Drinking and Driving: It may seem ok to throw back a couple beers on the boat, but alcohol does slow your response and impacts judgment.    

The Aftermath 

Have you been harmed in a boating incident due to negligent care of a vessel?  Inebriation? Reckless driving?  These, and other issues, could be the basis for a personal injury lawsuit, which could result in compensation for you.  To discuss the possibilities, contact the knowledgeable Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. for a free, confidential consultation today.

Resources:

boatingsafetymag.com/boatingsafety/top-11-causes-boating-accidents

floridanewstimes.com/florida-boat-accidents-in-2020-exceeded-800-and-killed-79/266425/

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