Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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Boaters in Florida face many hazards while out on the water, from perilous weather to reckless operators. Underwater dredge pipes are a hidden risk. boating

Dredge pipes are used to conduct dredging operations, which are intended to clean out the bed of a harbor, river or some other area of water by scooping out the weeds, mud and trash. These sites are essentially construction zones on the water, and yet, they are usually not visible to boaters. They can pose a serious danger for approaching vessels, particularly in low visibility conditions.

That is why the companies and government agencies responsible for carrying out these operations owe a duty of care to make sure there are warnings or signs so boaters know to steer clear. The recent case of C.F. Bean v. Barhanovich involves a boater who was killed when the outboard engine of his fishing boat struck an underwater dredge pipe. The pipe flipped into his boat and fatally struck him. Continue reading →

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The boating death of the Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez shocked and devastated the team and the community. Now, a toxicology report reveals Fernandez, 24, had a blood-alcohol level that was almost twice the legal limit and he also had cocaine in his system. His two friends, also killed in the boating accident, had alcohol in their systems too, though they were under the legal limit. Authorities opined the three died of blunt force trauma to the torso and head after the boat slammed into a jetty around 3:30 a.m. boating

We still don’t know at this point who was actually operating the boat. However, we do know, based on the latest boating statistics released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that alcohol and/or drug use played a role in 1 out of every 5 boating fatalities in Florida last year. There were a total of 737 reportable boating accidents in 2015 (those that involved injuries or caused more than $2,000 in property damage). Florida has the most registered vessels in the nation – 916,000 – a figure that has been steadily growing with the economic recovery.

Although boating under the influence (BUI) is a crime by Florida law (F.S. 327.35), and penalties are somewhat similar to those for driving under the influence (DUI) (F.S. 316.193), there are some loopholes that lawmakers have been trying to close for sometime. As the Palm Beach Post recently reported, BUI enforcement and treatment under the law raises a number of complex questions.  Continue reading →

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Boating in Florida was more dangerous last year, with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reporting the number of boating accidents statewide shot up by 23 percent compared to the prior year.. boating1

Lee County was singled out as one of the most dangerous cites, ranking No. 4 behind Miami-Dade, Monroe and Broward counties for having the most accidents on the water – 48 for the year.

There was one death reported in Lee County as a result of a boating accident last year, and also 20 injuries. Statewide, there were 737 boating accidents – far more than 634 reported in 2014. However, it is worth noting that between 2011 and 2013, the average number of collisions was 727. That is to say that 2014 saw a marked decrease in the number of boating accidents we typically see statewide. We had hoped this would signal a downward trend, but the final 2015 figures show that is not the case.  Continue reading →

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A Florida jet ski accident claimed the life of a Lehigh Acres man in Alva, according to a report by Fort Myers news station NBC-2.

An investigation by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) revealed the fatal accident was alcohol-related. The report indicated the 53-year-old man was riding on the personal watercraft in the Caloosahatchee River when the vessel struck a dock, ejecting him. Neighbors indicated they heard a commotion and came out to find a number of people working to pull the man out of the water. Despite spending a half hour performing CPR on him, he died. His exact cause of death is ujetskiingnclear, but initial reports appear to indicate blunt force head trauma.

The FWC reports that in 2014, there were 104 personal watercraft accidents in Florida, with 98 resulting in injuries and causing five deaths. There are a total of 111,441 registered personal watercraft vessels in the state last year. Those figures indicate a slight decrease in personal watercraft accidents in the state from the previous year, when there were 108,113 registered vessels, 137 accidents, 125 injuries and eight deaths. Continue reading →

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A boating accident lawsuit stemming from a crash resulting in the amputation of a 9-year-old girl’s thumb is likely to settle for $1 million, according to local news sources from Myrtle Beach.boating

According to, the defendant in the case of Georgino v. Murrells Inlet Epiphany Inc. is the tourism leader of the popular South Carolina city. He also works as the managing partner of a resort management company there. The lawsuit was filed in federal South Carolina District Court.

The accident occurred in late May 2014. According to the girl’s mother, who is the plaintiff on her behalf, the child’s hand was resting on the side of her father’s boat. It was in the process of being moored and rafted alongside a number of other vessels situated in an inlet. The family was attending an event for wounded veterans.

Suddenly, according to the complaint, the wake caused by defendant’s yacht caused the girl’s father’s boat to slam into another vessel. The lawsuit alleges the yacht was being operated at a high rate of speed, very near to boats that were moored and rafted. Continue reading →

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A South Florida boating accident recently claimed the life of one man and injured two others. Investigators are working to piece together what happened. boating

Two boats were moving side-by-side along the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale when one of the operators lost control and smashed into a dock located in the rear of a private residence. The impact of the collision resulted in a 24-year-old man being ejected from the vessel, where he struck his head on the concrete sea wall. He was pronounced dead at the scene, while two others were transported to a local hospital for treatment. They are expected to survive their injuries.

Officials are unsure exactly why the vessels were moving side-by-side or how fast they were traveling. However, there is some indication speed was a factor because the impact of the crash was forceful enough to send a passenger out of the boat. Further, there is some indication more than one person was operating the vessel that crashed in the moments prior to impact. There is also an ongoing inquiry into whether alcohol may have played a role in the crash.

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Plaintiff in Hodson v. Taylor was a teenager when he ventured out with a group of friends on a private lake in a pontoon boat owned by one of the friend’s parents.

The group spent some time cruising around the lake and stopped a few times to swim. When they stopped at their final spot, plaintiff dove in. But the water was far too shallow. He struck the bottom and was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.

He now suffers limited movement of his shoulders and hands. Doctors say he will never walk again.
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Florida boaters enjoy some 8,400 miles of external and internal coastline along the ocean, including the gulf and various lakes and rivers.
While injuries caused by the negligence of boat operators is almost certainly worthy of compensation, those that arise out of the “natural condition” of the landscape generally are not. Additionally, local and state governments are generally protected under sovereign immunity laws.

However, as a recent case out of Utah illustrates, this protection is not absolute. Further, our Naples boat accident lawyers understand the definition of “natural condition” may not be narrowly interpreted by all courts.
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The impact of a horrific, three-boat crash following a firework display over the Biscayne Bay to celebrate the Fourth of July left four people dead and three suffering critical injuries. A total of eight were transported to the hospital.
Investigators, while still working to piece together the exact details of the chaotic scene, have announced they believe alcohol was a possible contributing cause to the crash.

Our Fort Myers Beach boating accident lawyers understand Florida was the No. 1 state for boating fatalities in 2013, continuing a trend that has been noted over the last decade – second only to California, which has twice the population of Florida.
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One woman is dead after a tube in a boat flew out and yanked her with it. The line of the tube wrapped around her neck and she was pulled overboard, according to NBC2. Investigators are still looking into the accident to see what led to her death.

The victim was a 23-year-old from Cape Coral. She died as a result of her injuries. Although officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) say that they’ve never heard of something like this happening, it is one of many risks present when enjoying a day on the water. Wind can be a problem when boating, regardless of what kind of boat you’re on. That’s something that you need to consider before heading out for an afternoon. Investigators have also reportedly determined alcohol a factor in the accident.

Our Fort Myers Beach boating accident lawyers know Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for these kinds of accidents. Our state continues to lead in the total number of registered boats, with more than 900,000 registered in 2012. During that same year, there were more than 700 boating accidents reported throughout the state.

Most commonly (accounting for more than 40 percent), these fatal accidents were the result of falling overboard. The leading cause of death was drowning, accounting for more than 60 percent of all boating fatalities. The deadliest month on the books was the month of July.

Drug and alcohol use played a role in more than 10 percent of the fatal boating accidents reported throughout the year. There were close to 60 people who died in all boating accidents reported in the state of Florida in 2012. Close to 65 percent of the victims were operators who were over the age of 35. More than 30 percent involved vessels that were less than 23 feet in length.

Aside from the fatalities, there were close to 400 injuries sustained in 2012 boating accidents.

Did you know that more than 70 percent of the operators who were involved in fatal accidents had no formal boater education?

And Lee County is one of the most dangerous counties in the state. We saw close to 30 accidents in 2012, with one fatality and 10 injuries. We were ranked as the 8th most dangerous in the state.

It’s a dangerous time of year to be out on the water. There’s a lot of boating traffic and the accident risks are high. So before you head out, make sure your passengers understand how to stay safe on the water. Enjoy your day in the sun, but enjoy it safely.
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