Florida is literally covered in waterways, lakes, and rivers. Many of us Florida residents—and lots of tourists—use these plentiful body of waters for recreation; there is something about the sun, water, and a rocking boat that creates a sense of joy. And like any recreational activity, it isn’t uncommon for some people to turn the fun into danger by consuming too much alcohol and by speeding around in their boat. And just like traffic accidents, boat collisions commonly result in injuries that can change a person a life. However, unlike with car accidents, boating accident victims often aren’t strapped down in anyway and have no protection. Even worse, drowning is a very real possibility when a fun day of boating turns into a nightmare.
Given the many ways that someone can be injured on the water, and the many different types of vessels that are commonly found in our rivers, intracoastal waterway, and lakes, understanding how boat accidents occur can help protect you and your family from danger.
When a boating injury occurs due to a boater’s negligence, carelessness, failure to follow laws, speeding, or operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is possible for an injury victim to get compensation for their damages. Contacting an experienced Florida boating accident lawyer can help you by handling all the legal complications while you focus on getting better.
Common Types of Boating Accidents
Some of the most common types of boating accidents in Florida result in injuries to individuals and families on a daily basis. Knowing the most common types of boating accidents can help you to understand what to watch out for and how to keep safe.
Waterskiing and Towing Accidents
Waterskiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, tubing, and any other type of boating activity that involves being pulled behind a boat at high speed can be dangerous. Crashing into the water, into another boat, or running into a dock can all result in serious injuries. If the driver of the boat towing the individual acted recklessly or in violation of the law, they can potentially be held accountable for the injured person’s injuries and damages.
Boating collisions are extremely dangerous, yet unsettlingly common. Since seatbelts aren’t used for obvious reason in boats, collisions often cause many of the boat’s passengers to go flying. Combine this with a concussion or other injury and the boater’s life could be in serious threat of drowning. If the boater is lucky enough to stay aboard, there are plenty of sharp and hard objects to smash your body against. All in all, boating collisions are extremely dangerous.
Jet Ski Accidents
Jet skis, wave runners, or personal watercraft (PWC) in general are a common way to enjoy the waters of Florida. They are often popular with tourists and those generally not experienced in their operation. A simple ID card and a short form will give you access to what is a very dangerous watercraft. In fact, isn’t that half the one of renting one, that they are a bit dangerous and exhilarating? This is exactly what makes PWCs so dangerous. The combination of speed, choppy water, and a lack of experience often leads to tragic consequences. Operating a jet ski under the influence of alcohol only increases that danger. Those who are floating in the waters near where PWCs are being operated are also in a particularly nasty kind of danger.
Money can buy you lots of nice toys, like an extravagant yacht, but it doesn’t buy you the experience or training to safely operate such large boat. Like with smaller boats, speeding, ignoring safety rules and laws, failing to follow navigational rules, and alcohol can all lead to serious injuries when a yacht collides with another boat or stationary object. Except with yachts, the dangers can be increased due to their size, especially for passengers on smaller boats.
Pontoon Boat Accidents
Pontoon boats don’t seem like they would be that dangerous, but they are commonly in the top of boating accident statistics. Across the US, more people die in pontoon boat accidents every year than in PWC accidents. Pontoon boats are dangerous for any of the reasons that regular boats are dangerous, increased by a tendency to be lackadaisical with safety concerns due to the relaxed nature of pontoons. Dangerous conduct like bow riding, sitting outside the railing, or drinking and driving can lead to drownings, propeller accidents, and run-over accidents.
Rental Boat Accidents
Renting a boat in Florida is super common. If you own a boat, you probably realize how many people are behind the wheel on any given day who have never navigated a water channel or docked a boat before in their life. When you rent a boat, you often get a short walk through of the boat’s controls and main functions and sign a quick waiver. However, this short lesson and waiver is almost never enough to keep anyone safe. And though waivers do exist for a reason, their attempt to avoid responsibility does not always hold up against the law. It is very possible to sue a boat rental company if you are injured if there were obvious signs that you were not able to pilot the boat, if there were mechanical problems, or other similar safety issues.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
Collisions on the water often occur because of a violation of law, failure to follow common boating rules and customs, and/or failure to exercise reasonable care. Collisions involving yachts, boats, or jet skis often result because of:
- Lack of proper training or necessary license
- Failed boating lights or faulty equipment
- Disobeying common boating rules or laws
- Failing to keep a proper lookout
- Drinking while driving
- Lack of understanding of terrain, like sandbars
Types of Boating Injuries Caused by Specific Accidents
Boating accidents are common and clearly dangerous. But the resulting injuries are often what people have to spend a lifetime getting over. Common injuries that occur during Florida boating accidents include:
- Propeller accidents can cause serious lacerations, dismemberment, broken bones, or internal injuries. Floating around a propeller or running over a swimmer are common ways that people meet the sharp, spinning end of a boat.
- Run-over accidents—such as those that occur to swimmers, floaters, or passengers who fell overboard—often suffer from a traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, disfigurement, lacerations, or death. Being runner by a boat is a very real concern, especially on crowded waterways.
- Overboard accidents are extremely dangerous and common. Some of the most common injuries when someone falls overboard from a moving boat, is a head injury or spine injury. Water is seriously dense, especially when someone hits it at high speeds.
- Drowning accidents are a serious risk for boaters. Flying overboard, being drunk, or a threatening waters can all lead to a tragic drowning.
- Slip and fall accidents on a vessel often cause head and neck injuries. And, just like owners of property on land have a responsibility to keep their invitees safe, so do boat owners.
Contact an Experienced Florida Boat Accident Attorney Today
The Eberst Law Firm is experienced in boating accidents, as we have been fighting for injury victim’s rights in Florida for many years. We seek to get our clients the compensation they deserve while they focus on getting better. We handle the stresses, keep our clients informed and up to date, and do everything we can to get a client back to the state they were before the incident; or as close as possible. If you were involved in an accident in Florida, contact The Eberst Law Firm today at 772-225-4900 or through our contact form to schedule your free consultation.