Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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The president of a Rhode Island boating company has died from injuries sustained in a single-boat crash in the Florida Keys during the Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run. The crash occurred last month near the Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon, Florida, according to BoatingMag.com.boating accident attorney

The publication reports the owner of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats was on board the vessel with four other men, including the 52-year-old operator of the boat. Two of the others on board were treated at a nearby hospital with personal injuries after the crash, while the other two were not injured. The 63-year-old decedent is survived by his wife and six children, who range in age from 15 to 38.

Although racing powerboats could be deemed by some as an inherently dangerous activity (decedent himself was quoted in a 2009 Newsweek article, in which he referred to himself as an “adrenaline junkie”), this does not mean the operator of the boat was not responsible to use reasonable care. These boats cost approximately $500,000, travel more than 100-miles-per-hour and the driver and throttle man are required to wear five-point harnesses in an enclosed canopy.  Continue reading →

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Boating is a popular outdoor activity in Florida, with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reporting some 932,000 registered vessels as of 2016. However, it can also be a potentially very dangerous one. There were more than 700 reported boating accidents in the state last year. A total of 67 people died – with 70 percent of operators involved in fatal boating accidents having no formal boater education. boating accident attorney

While operator error is the most commonly-cited cause of Florida boating accidents, the failure of the vessel or one of its components can’t be overlooked. While the former would help establish liability on a theory of negligence, the latter would establish product liability. In order for product liability to be applicable, we would look at the mechanics of the vessel and whether it performed as expected and/ or whether consumers were warned about foreseeable dangers.

In a recent boating accident case out of Louisiana, the state supreme court there affirmed a $125,000 verdict against a boating manufacturer, but did find the punitive damage award of $23 million to be excessive. In turn, the court amended the punitive damage judgment to $4.25 million.  Continue reading →

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Florida is a boater’s paradise, but it quickly became a nightmare for the parents of two teen boys who disappeared off the coast of Jupiter in the midst of a fierce Atlantic storm. The 19-foot boat they took was recovered months later, empty. The boys have never been found. boating accident

Now, the parents of one of those teens are eyeing a wrongful death lawsuit against the other, after a new state report alleges negligence for failure to exercise reasonable care in allowing the teens to go out into the water on an ill-equipped boat in poor weather conditions with no adult supervision. However, the prospective defendants of the case say they did not allow their son to take the boat out that day, and should not be liable for the other boy’s death.

Florida does not require a boating license for any operator. However, if a boater was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, they will be required to complete a boater’s safety education course if they operate a boat with 10 hp or more. Most providers of these courses have no minimum age, and do not require participants to be Florida residents.

The question in this tragic case will really boil down to whether the boys were properly supervised. Although negligent supervision is a tort that could apply in a variety of contexts (think construction site managers or trucking carriers overseeing many drivers), it can also refer to failure to control a child. What must be proven is the adult knew or should have known the child needed to be controlled and/ or protected, and failed to do so, resulting in injury.  Continue reading →

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A man is suing his former girlfriend’s father after a boating injury in which he suffered paralyzing injuries and is now a quadriplegic.boating

According to news reports, the lawsuit (filed in New Hampshire by the 27-year-old) alleges he was spending time with his girlfriend at her father’s lake house, where father/ defendant owned a boat. The group took the boat out to a sandbar, where the plan was to anchor. Plaintiff, inexperienced in boating, was helping defendant drop the anchor, at defendant’s request. Defendant, a regular boater, did not inform plaintiff of proper boating procedures, particularly for sandbars, and plaintiff dove into the water to help with the anchor. The problem was the water was only 3 feet deep. Plaintiff’s injuries were catastrophic. He now alleges defendant violated boating regulations by standing on the gunnel while the boat was in motion, and also in directing him to jump in when the water was so shallow. Plaintiff’s attorney said the dangers of this were not obvious to an inexperienced boater.

Florida is no stranger to cases like these, considering we lead the nation in total number of registered vessels – 932,000 in 2016, according to the latest figures from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). There were a total of 714 reportable boating accidents in the Sunshine State last year. Of those, one quarter involved a collision with another vehicle. A third of the fatal accidents involved falls overboard, and overboard boating is the No. 1 cause of fatalities in Florida boating. Continue reading →

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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 MyrtleBeachOnline.com, 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.