Florida has fantastic options for recreational boating. Yet, each year, some people fail to return from an outing or do so with life-changing injuries.
Recreational boating accidents are not exclusive to Florida, although it has far more of them than any other state. The U.S. Coastguard report for 2020 shows that 804 of the 5,265 accidents happened in the Sunshine State. California placed second, with 493.
Why do these accidents happen?
The report lists the top 10 primary contributing factors as follows:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failure
- Navigation rules violation
- Alcohol use
- Hazardous waters
- Force of wake/wave
The top four in that list are clearly due to those in charge of the boat. The same is true of numbers six and seven. But what about the rest? Surely machinery failure, weather, hazardous water and wave forces are not something humans cannot control? In most cases, they are.
- Machinery failure: Things can break unexpectedly. If so, it may be down to a manufacturing error, poor maintenance or improper use by the boat’s owner.
- Weather: A boat operator must check the weather forecast to ensure that heading out on the water is suitable, given the boat, the route and the crew experience.
- Hazardous waters: Yet again, it comes down to the boat captain assessing the weather conditions and tides and considering if it is safe to travel particular parts of the sea, at a specific time, with the boat and crew they have.
- Force of wake/wave: You can be unlucky and get caught by a freak wave. Yet, there is ample information to inform boat operators where sizeable waves can occur, or where large boats can create dangerous wakes.
If you are injured or lose a loved one in a recreational boating accident do not assume it was unavoidable. There are often elements of human negligence that led to the accident. Exposing them can help you claim the compensation you will need.