When it comes to the potential for accidents, people who enjoy boating aren’t much safer than drivers. There are rules and safety warnings people who operate a boat must abide by in and around Boca Raton. Similar to car accidents, a number of boating accidents occur because of neglect and operator inexperience, causing property damage, personal injury, and, in the worst cases, fatalities.
With the number of accidents that occur in lakes, on beaches, rivers and water causeways, it’s important to look out and be aware of the most common types of boating accidents. Below are the top 8 most common types of accidents that can occur.
1.) Lack of Boat Safety Equipment
To no surprise, a number of people on boats don’t follow proper safety equipment guidelines which can cause a number of accidents.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends the following equipment for vessels 16 to 26 feet long:
- Personal flotation devices for every person on board
- Fire extinguisher
- Visual distress signal for high seas and coastal waters
- Bells, horns or whistles (or all three!)
- Backfire flame control
- Vessel lighting
Anchors are also overlooked safety items, but they’re the first line of defense in a breakdown or storm. This equipment can help you reduce your losses in an emergency situation.
2.) Excessive Speeding on a Boat
Maintaining proper speed keeps the operator and passengers aboard safe from collisions and other injuries, such as falling out of the boat or bumping into each other when you hit a wave at high speeds. Excessive speeds can increase your chances of not viewing another boat from another direction or perhaps an object in the water that is unavoidable. When you travel at a safe speed, you reduce your chance of hitting other boats or objects that can do serious damage to your vessel and its passengers. Operators should be using their best judgment to ensure proper safety precautions and a good time.
3.) Negligent Boat Operator
Operating a boat in Florida is considered a privilege, and the state provides preventive training and certification so boat operators understand the importance of their responsibilities. When a boat operator is being neglectful by distractions of passengers or other interferences, daydreaming, or worse — boating under the influence — everyone on the boat is affected by that individual’s choices. It is the responsibility of the boat operator to be vigilant about watching the waters ahead and making smart decisions to keep everyone on board safe.
A negligent boat operator is often behind severe injuries and property damage sustained on a boat. In Florida, they may be held liable for damages.
4.) Falling Overboard Near South Florida
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the top boating fatality was falling overboard in 2019. In most cases, falling overboard occurs while fishing, where fishermen were not wearing a personal flotation device and died from drowning. In some cases, alcohol was also involved, and there were other cases where a person incurred injury or fatality because of the way they were being retrieved from other passengers on the boat.
5.) Boat Operators Ignore Weather Warnings
Ignoring weather warnings in and around Florida can be a fast and fatal mistake. When boat operators ignore these kinds of warnings, they are accepting full responsibility for the risk involved. Bad weather conditions prohibit visibility of other boats, objects and open up vulnerability to major waves that can capsize even large boats. If you’re thinking about going out on a boat, remember that NOAA provides up-to-date weather conditions, and you have access to these updates on your cell phone as well.
Also known as “running aground,” grounding can occur when a boat unintentionally hits a beach, reef, rock piling or other major landing that permits the boat from moving in the water. This is a somewhat embarrassing situation, but it can cause major damages to property like a dock or someone else’s boat that you’re operating. It can also cause injury to passengers if hard grounding occurs.
Water skiing can be an enjoyable pastime, but when safety becomes a concern, this recreational pastime can cause major personal injuries and fatality. Many water skiing accidents can occur while running into other boats, not wearing a life preserver, or accidentally hitting a water wake causing bodily injury. If you are pulling a skier or are involved in an accident while water skiing, it’s best to consult an attorney to ensure you are properly represented on either side.
From the previous case descriptions of accidents, intoxication can be the primary reason leading up to the accident. According to FWC, 617 citations were given out in 2018 due to alcohol consumption. In 2019 at Boca Raton’s infamous “Boca Bash,” a man was found dead in the water, as reported by the Palm Beach Post, after five hours where thousands of boaters gathered to party and engage in illegal activity like drinking while boating. These kinds of decisions seem harmless but can ultimately lead to very dangerous and fatal outcomes.
The sooner you contact a boat accident attorney in South Florida, the sooner you can resolve your accident case. With an attorney’s help, it may be possible to recover compensation for lost time at work, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
If you’ve suffered injuries from a boating accident, you can trust attorney Robert Baker of Baker Legal Team to provide competent and compassionate legal counsel during this challenging time in your life. Robert Baker is Board-Certified in personal injury law and has successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients. Call our firm today to find out how we can move your case forward by calling (561) 560-5961 or complete our contact form for a FREE consultation.