Florida Maritime Accidents

As marine injuries attorneys, we see many boating and Jet Ski-related injuries arising from the state of Florida. One need only go out on a nice summer weekend to see an amateur Navy out in droves. In Florida, a driver’s test is not required to be able to operate a boat on Florida waterways. How scary is that? Can you imagine if the State of Florida allowed people to drive cars with no driving test whatsoever? With so many boaters and beachgoers, someone is bound to get hurt. Unfortunately, we see this on a regular basis in the area, and often, law enforcement is called in. This is especially true if there is a crash or collision, or some other illegal activity involved.

Sandbar-ing In Florida Bays

In the state of Florida, a popular pastime is taking out the boat and hitting the sandbar. The sandbars in areas around our state have become huge hotspots on the weekend where excessive drinking, underage drinking, music, and high-powered vessels mix. The Tampa Bay Times had it right in May 2013, reporting that the spoil islands near John’s Pass are some of the most popular, crowded sandbar-ing locations. The article noted that there are almost 50,000 boats just in Pinellas County alone. Based on numbers, you can understand how, as a boater in Florida, having a marine injuries attorney is wise.

The article accurately notes that the sandbar-ing phenomenon places a high concentration of boats in a small area. With sandbar-ing, there is drinking; boat drivers can become dehydrated, and many times there is not an alternate driver capable of driving the boat. There is also no bartender to cut off a person who has had too much to drink, and because of the location, medical help may take a while to arrive. There is also the nature of the injuries —they are typically extensive in nature and often require calling upon the assistance of a marine injuries attorney.

Boating and Marine Injuries

Another part of the problem is the disparity we see in the size of boats sometimes involved in boating accidents. Some of the marinas, parks, and boat ramps are located near channels. These channels are designed to be two-way streets where there is traffic in one direction, and then on the opposite side of the channel, there is traffic going in the opposite direction.

Anyone who has been out on the water in Florida knows that is not exactly how things proceed in channels. During the weekend, it is not uncommon for two vessels to be passing — going the opposite direction — and at the same time having a third or fourth boat in the middle of the channel trying to blast through conflicting and turbulent wakes. It is easy for a power vessel while trying to pass another vessel to hit the turbulent wakes and lose control of the vessel.

Many people that need a marine injuries attorney learn that there are certain rules of the road when it comes to the operation of vessels and who has the right of way. Known as the U.S. Coast Guard Rules of the Road, those rules of the road reside at 33 Code of Federal Regulation section 83. (More commonly known as 33 CFR § 83.) The USCG Rules of the Road are like a driver’s manual for boats, and they cover such topics as safe speed (Rule 6), avoidance of collisions (Rules 7 and 8), keeping a lookout (Rule 5), narrow channels (Rule 9), and many other rules designed to avoid collisions.

Consult with a Marine Injuries Attorney in Florida

As marine injuries attorneys, we are very familiar with the USCG Rules of the Road. After a boating injury has occurred, these rules may determine who is at fault for the incident. Because boating injuries tend to be significant, there is usually a great deal riding on the Rules of the Road — maybe even the outcome of your entire case.

That is why it is important that you choose a marine injuries attorney who actually practices maritime law in Florida. Many lawyers will tell you they know maritime law, but they cannot answer simple questions about what laws apply, where to make your claim, what your exact statute of limitations is, etc. If the lawyer you are interviewing cannot answer these questions, and cannot show you that he or she has actually filed suit in a boating accident case, you need to reconsider.

We are marine injuries attorneys and have been practicing maritime law for 25 years in Florida and throughout Florida. We have helped our clients injured in boating-related and crashes recover. Call us at 888-BOAT-LAW or contact us to begin working on your injury claim immediately. We need to start collecting the evidence on your case now.

***None of the foregoing is legal advice and is not meant to give legal advice. Each case is different. This is why it is important to contact us on the specific facts of your case. What you say in making the claim can greatly affect your outcome.