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Florida Personal Injury

Popularity of Boating Raises Possibility of Accidents, Injury and Even Death


Boating is a popular recreational activity in Florida, but it can also be a dangerous one.

There are more registered vessels in Florida than in any other state. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement, there were more than 915,000 vessels registered in 2015. Such a larger number of active boats creates numerous opportunities for boating accidents.

The Commission reported 737 boating accidents in 2015 that resulted in 438 injuries and 55 fatalities. Here are a few statistics regarding these accidents and injuries:

  • One in four boating accidents involved a collision.
  • The leading cause of boating fatalities is boaters falling overboard. Thirty-five of the 2015 fatalities were caused by drowning.
  • Like car, truck and other land-vehicle accidents, drugs and alcohol often play a role in boating accidents. Alcohol or drug use reportedly played a role in one and five of the boating fatalities.
  • Almost all of the victims of fatal boating accidents were male — 95%.
  • The greatest number of boating accidents occurred in May.

Boating Accident Examples

As stated above, a significant number of boating accidents involve a collision. For example, in June 2016, a St. Augustine man who was involved in a hit-and-run boating accident near the Vilano Beach Bridge lost part of his leg when another boat literally ran over his vessel. His leg had to be amputated.

The collision isn’t always between vessels. Sometimes there are natural obstacles that a boat operator doesn’t see in time or can’t avoid. In November 2016, a man and woman were injured when their boat hit a tree on Black Creek in Green Cove Springs (about 35 miles south of Jacksonville). Their boat was traveling 30 miles per hour when they went around a bend and broadsided a low-hanging branch. They were both taken to the hospital.

Sometimes boating accidents are caused by internal problems, like a mechanical or electrical issue. For example, in March 2016, two people were hospitalized with minor injuries after their boat caught on fire in Jacksonville Beach in the Intracoastal Waterway near Beswick Island. (Investigators were looking into the cause of the fire.)

Other causes of boating accidents include operator inexperience (like driving too fast or having difficulty maneuvering the vessel) and general negligence. The doctrine of negligence rests on the assumption that human beings owe one another a duty of care. In other words, society expects that we act in a certain way, like watching where we’re going. If you are involved in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to compensation for your damages. Contact The Pendas Law Firm today to speak with a Jacksonville personal injury attorney about your case.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Myers, Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona, Bradenton and Tampa areas.


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