As the days run longer and summer comes into full swing, the lawyers at Morgan & Morgan would like to remind all boaters to exercise caution when boating. Although boating is a great pastime in Florida, the state consistently ranks number one for recreational boating accidents and fatalities in the United States. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in 2010 the state saw 668 reportable boating accidents, 389 injuries, and 79 boating-related fatalities. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol use rank as the top five primary contributing factors in Florida boating accidents.
In April, a couple from Portland, Maine was injured when two people on a personal watercraft crashed into their boat, almost splitting it in half. Two men were driving a jetski when they froze and smashed into the boat, injuring two of the four occupants. The accident occurred on the Intercoastal Waterway in Siesta Key, Florida, south of Sarasota. Thankfully this accident was not fatal, but it illustrates the serious dangers that exist when boat operators are inexperienced, inattentive, or commit errors.
In 2010, the United States Coast Guard reported 4604 accidents that involved 672 deaths, 3153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. For the four years from 2006 to 2010, Florida has consistently ranked number one for boating accident fatalities, with over fifty-five every year and sixty-nine in 2010. Many of these tragic crashes can be prevented through sober driving, attention while operating a watercraft, and deference to other vehicles.
Though many maritime injuries and casualties are the result of carelessness by an individual, sometimes an accident may be the result of negligence of a third party (such as a boating company) or of product liability. Therefore, if you or a loved one is involved in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced Florida boating accident attorney to receive a free case review to see if you are eligible to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages.