According to a 2020 report, the state of Florida tops the list when it comes to boating accidents. In fact, the Sunshine State has twice as many accidents as California, which is number two on the list.
In 2020, there were 679 recreational boating accidents, with the number surging to 836 when commercial boats were included. The accidents resulted in 534 injuries and 79 fatalities. The property loss from these incidents exceeded $13 million.
Florida is known for great weather and beautiful beaches. With easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, and countless lakes, it’s clear why boating is such a popular activity. Unfortunately, it can also be quite dangerous, as illustrated by the statistics above.
If you are involved in a boating accident in Florida, our team at Zimmet & Zimmet wants to help you. We will research your case, gather evidence, and file a lawsuit to help you recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses you sustained in a Florida boating accident.
Along with taking action after an accident occurs, learning about some of the most common causes of Florida boat accidents may help you avoid becoming a victim.
Collisions with Other Vessels
More than 70% of the 2020 reported boating accidents occurred while cruising. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the leading causes of boating accidents include some type of collision.
The most common type of collision that occurs is an accident with another vessel on the water. In fact, about 27% of all Florida boating accidents involved a vessel collision. This includes hitting another boat that is moored, anchored, or moving.
It’s possible to avoid these types of accidents if you remain focused and avoid distractions while you are on the water. For accidents that are caused by operator error, issues like improper lookout and inattention were the most common causes. While this is true, there are other possible causes of boating collisions, too, including excessive speed, inexperience, and intoxication.
Collision with a Fixed Object
Another common cause of boating accidents is collisions with a fixed object. In this respect, a fixed object includes both manufactured and natural items, including:
- Docks and piers
- Submerged trees and rocks
It’s important to note these collisions do not include cases of groundings. In fact, groundings are completely different than collisions.
It’s estimated that just under 20% of all Florida boating accidents involve a collision with some type of fixed object. Some of the things you can do to prevent an accident with a fixed object include:
- Use navigation aides to detect and alert you to submerged rocks
- Watch in all directions, which includes down
- Be aware of how the glare of the sun is affecting your vision
- Watch your speed, especially when dealing with poor visibility
You also need to stay aware of the tides. The items that you may be able to see at low tide may slip under the surface when high tide comes in.
Swamping and Flooding
Swamping and flooding can cause your boat to sink. At the very least, you may need to pump out the water from your boat to ensure this doesn’t happen if it swamps or floods.
There are a few reasons that swamping and flooding can occur. The heavy rains in Florida can cause boats to flood and swamp after a storm moves through. It’s a good idea to stay abreast of the weather and avoid using your boat if there are storms predicted.
It’s also possible for a boat to swamp in heavy waters. Tides and winds may create waves that are big enough to swamp and sink even larger boats. Even the wake from another boat can result in waves that are big enough to swamp your boat. Be sure there’s plenty of space between you and any other vessel on the water.
People Falling Overboard
In this regard, falling overboard means that a fall is the main cause of the accident. This does not include falls that occur after another issue, such as a collision.
Believe it or not, falls overboard can occur. Sitting on the gunwales and slick surfaces can result in someone falling overboard.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help with Your Boating Accident Case
If you are involved in a boating accident, one of the smartest things you can do is to get in touch with our boat accident lawyers. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we will provide professional and aggressive representation to help you recover the compensation you deserve after an injury or damages that occur because of a boating accident. While boating accidents may not be as common as motor vehicle accidents, they still occur and can have devastating consequences for those involved. Because of this, it’s best to hire our legal team to ensure you get the compensation deserved.