If you live in southwest Florida, then boating may be one of your favorite recreational pastimes. But did you know that there has been a surge in the number of deadly Florida boating accidents that have occurred over the past year?
According to a report put out by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2020, Florida boaters were involved in a 16% increase in fatalities.
More boats have been on the water the past two years, which has led to more accidents, including during the first part of 2021. This unfortunate trend also seems to continue to climb, and it could be due to the lack of education when it comes to boating.
Spike in New Boat Registrations
There are almost a million registered boats as Florida leads the nation in registered vessels. However, it is also estimated that there are up to a million non-registered vessels on the water as well, with a population that continues to grow.
Since 2019, there has been a 26% increase in reportable boating accidents, more than 300 collisions with other water-bound vessels or fixed objects, and more than 69% of boat operators involved in deadly boating accidents had not received any formal boat education previously.
The Importance of Boating Education
Since many of these accidents were due to improper training and education, what needs to be done moving forward is pretty clear. If more boaters are better trained and are more equipped and able to follow through with safe boating methods, we could easily see a decrease in these statistics.
Other Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Collisions are often the result of the boat operator failing to pay attention. In addition to inexperienced boat operators, Florida boating accidents may also be the result of mechanical failures, adverse weather conditions, and operating the boat while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
To operate a boat in Florida, you must be over the age of 14. If you were born on or after January 1988, you also have to pass a boating safety education class. However, these are really the only requirements, further showing how inexperience and the lack of education can cause serious injuries and even death.
As a boat owner, you are responsible for performing routine maintenance to ensure everything is properly working before heading out on the water. If you rent a boat from a boating company that failed to properly inspect everything, then they may be liable due to their negligence if you are involved in a boating accident that was the result of skipped maintenance and the lack of duty of care that was expressed.
Filing a Boat Injury Claim
Before you do anything, it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who is well-versed in boating accident claims. They can help you establish liability and prove negligence.
You have three years from the date of the boating accident to claim personal injury compensation; however, you don’t want to wait that long. You want to file your claim as soon as possible.
After a boating accident, contact the Coast Guard immediately and provide them with the location of the accident and let them know if medical assistance is needed. You then want to do what you do after any accident. Collect photographic evidence and gather the names and contact information of everyone involved.
The most common liable party in these accidents is often the boat operator. They are the ones who have control over the vessel and are typically responsible for ensuring everyone is safe and all laws are obeyed.
Consult with your personal injury attorney in southwest Florida to learn how to file your claim for compensation following a boating accident.