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South Florida Authorities Remind Boaters to Stay Safe

Boating accidents that result in injury and fatalities are common throughout Florida, especially during the summer months. For drivers, reckless boating could mean criminal penalties in addition to civil liability for any injuries or fatalities. This weekend investigators and authorities have indicated that captains may be charged criminally after a two-boat collision jettisoned passengers into the water and left 9 people in the hospital.

According to reports, the accident occurred on Sunday near Sands Cut, a sandbar near Elliot Key, Florida. The accident investigation is being conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is seeking to uncover the cause of the accident and identify any responsible parties. Our Fort Lauderdale boating accident lawyers are experienced with similar cases and can help victims protect their rights.

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Passengers were injured when a 36-foot boat carrying 16 passengers was struck by a 28-foot vessel with 2 passengers. There were at least 12 people flung into the water at the time of the collision and the 28-foot vessel eventually capsized. The passengers suffered injuries ranging from minor to severe and one passenger who was most seriously injured was airlifted by helicopter and taken to the hospital.

Boating injuries can cause severe injuries including lacerations, broken bones, permanent injuries, concussions, drowning and fatalities.

In the event of a boating accident, an immediate investigation should be conducted to determine the cause and identify any responsible parties. Authorities in this case claimed that both captains passed field sobriety tests at the time of the accident. Though alcohol use has not been ruled out, it does not appear to be the cause of the boat collision.

Criminal charges are still pending and authorities are investigating to determine whether either driver broke Florida boating laws. Authorities are urging boaters and passengers to remain safe while on the water.

There are many ways to reduce the incidence of boating accidents. Before you head out on the water this summer, remember the following:

Captains should be well-trained and new drivers should be supervised by an experienced captain.

Boaters should be aware of inclement weather and low-visibility. If you are caught in a storm, you should reduce speeds to avoid collisions with other boaters.

Ensure proper maintenance of your vessel. Boats should be inspected and check to make sure that they are safe for use. Boats should also have necessary safety equipment, including life vests for all passengers.

Avoid reckless boating. For many boaters, being on the water means being carefree; remember, this doesn’t mean reckless abandon. If you are on the water, remember the dangers and the risks to yourself and your passengers. Follow signs and remain within speed limits.

Never drink and boat. While boating is often associated with drinking, remember that even a small amount of alcohol can impair a boater and reduce reaction time. Passengers and other boaters are put at serious risk when a captain is under the influence.

If you or someone you love was injured in a boating accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:
Broward, Miami, Monroe: Deadliest Boating Counties in the State, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, June 13, 2013

South Florida Boating Accidents Likely Through Spring Break, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, March 17, 2013

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