Living in Fort Lauderdale, we truly are the Venice of the Americas! Our beautiful weather and access to the ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway results in a great opportunity to both enjoy boating as well as to be injured on a boat. In fact, the Coast Guard tallied 4,463 boating accidentsin 2016. These accidents accounted for nearly 3,000 injuries, and almost $50 million worth of damage. There are nearly 1 million registered water vessels in the State of Florida. Typically, Dade and Monroe counties lead the nation when it comes to reported boat accidents, with Broward county close behind.
As a lawyer who helps people with boat accidents, check out our guide on what to do if you have been in a crash while you are out on the water. We understand the specific requirements of making boating injury claims.
Boating Accident Prevention
The best way to deal with a boat accident is to avoid a boat accident. Limit how much you are drinking while you are boating. It may be a good idea to not drink at all, particularly if you are driving a boat. However, the reality is that as a passenger, soaking up the sun on a boat, alcohol will be available. Being responsible is key, and you should remember that there are speed limits for a reason. Your boat can only do certain maneuvers. Going too fast and suddenly turning your boat can lead to disaster.
Boating is a fun activity to do in a group. You should make sure that there is enough space on the boat for everyone. Avoid overcrowding and weighing the boat down. Remember, your boat is struggling against gravity, and is only so buoyant. Two boat trips are better than one.
Have a plan in place. You should have a first aid kit, as well as life jackets for everyone onboard. A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Wearing a vest may look lame, but in the event of a capsize, it could make the difference between life and death.
What to Do After a Boat Accident
The first thing you will want to do after a boat accident is to check that everyone is safe. If someone is injured, you should try to help them out in any way you can. It will be a good idea to call the Coast Guard or an ambulance, as needed.
According to Florida law, boaters are required to file a report with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement. If a boater does not wish to file with them, they can report the incident to the local police.
According to federal law, people must report an accident when:
- Someone dies
- Someone is injured beyond the scope of first aid
- A person disappears from the boat, and it can be assumed that a death or injury was involved
- Damage to property is more than $2,000
Boat accidents involving injuries must be reported within 48 hours of the incident. The person who was operating the boat must be the one to submit the report. If the boat operator is incapacitated, then the owner of the boat should submit the report.
If only the boat or property was damaged, then you have up to 10 days to report the accident.
When you are talking to law enforcement, it is a good idea to be as honest as possible. Your adrenaline may be flowing, but you should do your best to calm down.
After you talk to the police, you will need to talk to your insurance company. It is a good idea to contact a lawyer before talking to anyone from your insurance company. An experienced lawyer can help you get the settlement that you deserve.
In the event of an injury, the Law Offices of Joseph Dawson can help you with your claim. Beside over 35 years of experience, he is a communicative, courteous, and considerate attorney who can fight for you. If you have been injured, Contact us and let us answer your questions and provide the legal assistance you deserve.