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Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, report high risk of Summer Boating Accidents

Recently WPBF 25 reported on a boating accident that claimed one life and injured another.

Our St. Lucie personal injury attorneys know that boating is a wonderful activity. But it carries additional risks when operators are inexperienced — which is a leading cause of Port St. Lucie boating accident.

The survivor of the boating accident has no idea what happened when a day of fishing on the St. Lucie River turned tragic.

Witnesses report that the boat was out-of-control when it crashed into the Evans Crary Bridge. The impact threw both passengers into the water. A nearby boat rescued one but the other passenger had already gone under the water. The missing passenger’s body was found a day later. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from 2005 through 2009, Florida had an average of over 1 million registered vessels. There are roughly 656 reportable boating accidents a year. A reportable accident is one that involves at least $2,000 worth of damage.

In 2009, there were 51 fatal boating accidents resulting in 65 fatalities in Florida; an additional 426 sustained injuries.

Statistics for these crashes include:

-Worst month: July 8 fatal crashes.
-Worst time of day: between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. reported 23 fatal crashes.
-20 deaths were from falls overboard.
-Males were operating the boat 96 percent of the time.
-89 percent of the boat operators had no boating education.
-18.5 percent of the crashes were alcohol/drug related.

In 2009, 62 percent of reportable boating accidents happened in 10 Florida counties:

-Monroe: 77 accidents, 3 fatalities.
-Miami-Dade: 62 accidents, 4 fatalities.
-Palm Beach: 56 accidents, 3 fatalities.
-Pinellas: 45 accidents, 4 fatalities.
-Broward: 30 accidents.
-Collier: 27 accidents.
-Lee: 24 accidents, 1 fatality.
-Hillsborough: 22 accidents.
-Volusia: 20 accidents, 5 fatalities.
-Bay: 20 accidents, 2 fatalities.

The next time you head out on the water remember to wear a life jacket, especially when the boat is moving. If you do take it off, know where it is in case of an emergency. And fill out a float plan and leave it with someone in case something happens. The information on the form includes things like your vessel and vehicle information, where you are going, who is with you and when you are due home. If you find you are running late let the person (who has the form) know you are OK and are just behind schedule.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.

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