Stuart’s Top Maritime Attorneys Are Here to Protect Your Rights
From Stuart to the Keys and from Miami to Tampa and Pensacola, Florida boasts some of the best boating opportunities in the country – and the world. There are nearly one million vessels registered in the state, and operators and their passengers enjoy cruising, fishing, tubing, water skiing, and exploring beautiful coastline, lakes, and streams.
But there is a darker side lurking in the Sunshine State. Florida leads the nation in the number of boating accidents and fatalities. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are almost 700 recreational boating accidents each year and more than 50 deaths. This is more than other coast-rich, heavily boat-trafficked states such as California, Texas, and New York.
More boats = more accidents. But major accidents, injuries, and deaths are often preventable. The most common causes of boating accidents in Florida:
- Inattention or improper lookouts
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Overcrowded or overloaded vessels
- While not as common, defective products/equipment can cause an accident. In this case, the manufacturer and even the retailer may be held liable for injuries.
If you have been injured in a boat accident caused by the negligence of an operator, contact LaBovick Law Group. We do not want you to be just another statistic, struggling to make ends meet as you deal with the aftermath of an accident. Our team of experienced maritime attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you need – and to which you are entitled – to recover.
Stay Safe on the Water
There are several critical steps you can take to stay safe while boating:
- Do not drink and boat. Drinking slows reaction time and impairs judgment. It can be equally dangerous when passengers are consuming alcohol. The most common cause of death in boating accidents is drowning. If a passenger falls overboard, for example, they may not be able to tell up from down due to loss of balance and equilibrium. And, of course, BUI is illegal, and you can face both federal and state charges.
- Schedule a free vessel safety check with the US Coast Guard.
- Make sure you have a life jacket for each person onboard; adults do not have to wear them as long as they are accessible. Children must wear them at all times.
- If your vessel is over 16 feet long, make sure you have a throwable flotation device onboard.
- Adhere to the maximum capacity for your boat; do not overload.
- Check the weather before you go out on the water. Sunny skies can turn treacherous in a second. Don’t get caught unprepared.
- Check your boat thoroughly before going out.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher onboard.
- Check the water for people/objects before starting your engine and propeller.
- If someone falls overboard, turn off your motor and propeller immediately.
- Take a boater safety course. These are required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operate a boat with a 10 hp or higher engine. You must keep your Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-issued ID on you while boating. Even if you are not required to have this certification, consider taking a course anyway. It helps keep everyone safer on the water.
If you have been injured in a boat accident, you may be contending with physical pain, distress, lost wages, mounting medical expenses, and bills that are piling up faster than you can pay them. Trying to take on insurance companies can feel like one stressor too many. We are here to help.
To make the process as easy as possible, we offer a complimentary consultation to discuss the details of your case. If your accident was caused by another party’s negligence, your attorney will pursue every legal avenue to ensure you are properly compensated. From determining fault to gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, we take this burden off your shoulders.
Florida is a prime boating destination, and for good reason. Plenty of sunshine, great year-round weather, and miles of gorgeous coastline provide endless opportunities for fun and exploration. If your day on the water results in a boat accident, however, contact the LaBovick Law Group for assistance.