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When Florida Boating Results in Injury


The untimely death of Marlin’s pitcher Jose Fernandez and two others in a tragic boating accident in September reminds us of how dangerous boating can be. The particular incident involving Fernandez was predicated by high speeds.

Causes of Boating Accidents

The statistics are jarring. People go boating to have a good time. But in 2015 alone, there were over 4,000 boating accidents in this country, resulting in nearly 3,000 injuries and over 600 fatalities.

Research indicates that speed is one of the top five causes of boating accidents, along with machinery failure, operator inexperience, operator inattention, and improper lookout. Whatever the cause, if you are involved in a boating accident, a good personal injury lawyer at your side could be the ticket to a successful legal outcome.

Accidents Don’t Necessarily Mean Collisions

Trouble on the water comes in many forms:

  • Running out of gas: Although it seems like an innocuous problem, when you consider that boaters can end up out of range and out of gas at the same time, you realize that this can be a serious situation. No one wants to be stranded at sea with a vessel that is out of commission simply because you didn’t fuel up.
  • Grounding your boat: Driving your boat aground can be dangerous if you are driving fast. The impact of the sudden stop is bound to result in injuries.
  • Falling overboard: Besides being embarrassing, this can be dangerous if you are not wearing a life jacket. Even an experienced boater runs the risk of hitting a head on the side of the boat on the way out.
  • Sinking: If there’s a hole in the boat, you’ve got problems. If the bilge pump is not working properly, or through-hulls are damaged, you may end up taking on more water than you can handle.
  • Fire: Although uncommon, boat fires are frightening and dangerous. If the bilge presents a fume scent, you have a potential problem. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher on the boat at all times.
  • Breaking Down: Mechanical failure can result in real problems on the water. If the battery goes out, so do the lights, causing a serious hazard at night.
  • Speeding in Low Visibility: Just like on the road, drivers should consider the conditions as they trek across the water.
  • Inadequate Safety Gear: When boats leave shore without the proper number and sizes of life vests, or lacking proper flares, horns, and running lights, it puts everyone at risk.
  • Weather: Boaters who fail to check the forecast are eventually going to hit treacherous weather. And a storm at sea is much more dangerous than one at home.
  • No Lookout: Boating collisions frequently come down to improper lookout. It is a responsibility that simply must be taken seriously.

When a Boating Outing Results in Injury

Hopefully your boating excursions will result in nothing more serious than a little sunburn. But if and when more serious injuries occur, the experienced team at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our Tampa office today for your confidential consultation.


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