Florida has the largest boating industry in the U.S. With summer just around the corner, boat owners are getting their vessels ready for fishing, water sports, or just cruising around on the weekends. While this is great fun for both residents and tourists, it also means there’s a higher risk of accidents. In fact, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that the state had 766 boat accidents in 2017 alone.
An accident on the water can lead to serious injury or even death. When boat collisions occur, the occupants are at risk of sustaining head trauma, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and severe abrasions. A common misconception is that these injuries only involve high-speed ski boats. However, even occupants of fishing boats or canoes are at risk.
Common Causes of Boat Accidents
Different boating activities involve different levels of risk. Laws are in place to help keep people safe while boating, but there’s no way to prevent accidents and injuries altogether. Unfortunately, many times the operator of a boat is to blame for an accident. Some common circumstances that lead to mishaps include:
- Excessive speeds
- Operating a boat while under the influence
- Failing to pay attention to boating traffic
- Improper boat maintenance
- Inadequate safety equipment
- Bottoming out and flooding the boat
Operators of boats have a responsibility to passengers, other boats, and people engaging in water activities. If the driver of a boat causes an accident, injured parties may be able to seek compensation if negligence was involved.
Tips for Preventing Disasters
Although boat owners must go through a safety course to obtain a license, it still pays to take additional precautions. In fact, taking further safety courses is a great way to learn how to prevent a disaster from happening. In addition to this, all boats should have proper safety equipment. There should be a lifejacket for every passenger, a first aid kit, and floatation devices on board. It’s also important that boaters monitor the weather before going out. This is critical when boating in the ocean where rough waters can cause capsizing.
Regular boat maintenance is essential. Boat operators should have yearly inspections and tune-ups to ensure they don’t break down while on the water. This also helps avoid possible fires or carbon monoxide leaks, which is a contributing factor in some boating fatalities. Either the boat operator or another passenger should always stay on the lookout for approaching boats, jet skis, or water skiers. This helps avoid collisions or striking people in the water. Finally, alcohol should never be consumed while operating a boat.
Contact a Boat Accident Attorney in Daytona Beach
If you’ve been injured in a boat accident that was caused by negligence, intoxication, or a disregard for boating laws, we can help. Our Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys have years of experience protecting the rights of injured victims. We’ll examine the details of the accident along with your injuries to determine the appropriate compensation to pursue. Contact Zimmet & Zimmet today at (386) 255-6400 to schedule a free consultation.