According to a recent news article from Jacksonville.com, boating accidents and related cases of personal injury and death are on the rise this year as compared to years past. One of the most important aspects of these findings discussed in the article is not that the numbers are going up, but that they are going up because of boat operators’ conduct.
One person interviewed is a man who repairs docks around the state. He has a 26-foot boat he uses when he is on the job, and he frequently sees first hand how irresponsible people can be when they are out on the water. Some of the more obvious issues involved speeding well above posted limits in certain areas and that are supposed to be no wake zones. He also speaks of a person using a personal watercraft such as wave runner or jet ski that crashed into a dock near where he was working.As discussed in the article, and as our Miami Dade boating accident lawyers have seen in far too many cases, there are basically a few reasons why these accidents occur, and they are all examples of negligent conduct and can be the basis of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
One major reason for accidents is that boat operators are not paying attention when they are out on the water. For some reason, people who would be much more careful when driving a car think that as soon as you get out on the water, you can throw caution to the wind, and you don’t even have to pay attention anymore. This could not be farther from the truth and is the reason for many boating accidents.
Another major reason for there being so many boating accidents is that people are drinking more than ever when out on the water. Drinking and operating a boat is not a good idea and can result in serious personal injury. One of the reasons this happens so much is because you are allowed to have alcohol on the boat, and others are allowed to drink as much as they want, but the operator of a watercraft can be arrested for drunk operation, just like when driving a car. The problem is the alcohol on the boat and the difficulty in enforcing drunk boating laws, as there are not enough officers, leads to more frequent incidents of drunk boat operation.
Another issue deals with people not knowing the proper rules about boating safety and boat operation. If you were born before 1988, you do not need to take any kind of safety course. However, just because you are not legally required to do something, doesn’t mean it is not smart to learn it. If you are involved in a serious boating accident because you didn’t know the right of way rules, that will not work as a defense in a civil negligence case, as claiming ignorance of the law is not likely to work in a case. Moreover, even if you were born after the 1988 date, you are required to take a boating safety course, but there is still no type of boating license issued in Florida as there is in various other states.
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Florida boating accidents, deaths increase in last year, June 30, 2017, By Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville.com
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