Florida’s sun attracts many tourists and locals to the state’s waterways, which fill with personal motor boats, jet skis, kayaks, canoes, sailboats and the like. Most people have fun on their mind when they go out to the water, but it’s important to note that recreational boating accidents are a reality anytime you’re on the water.

Not only can these accidents cause serious injuries, but they have caused deaths and damage to property as well. Here are some of the most common causes of recreational boating accidents to keep in mind:

  • The boat’s operator was not paying enough attention
  • The boat’s operator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or boating under the influence (BUI)
  • The operator was speeding or the boat was moving at a higher than safe speed for the area and for the water conditions
  • Improper lookout
  • Right of way violations
  • The boat’s operator had little or no experience operating a boat, which can cause a multitude of issues on the water

How common are recreational boating accidents?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2015, there were:

  • 4,158 recreational boating accidents
  • 626 deaths in these accidents
  • 2,613 injuries in these accidents
  • An estimated $42 million of damage to property from these accidents

Who is responsible for my injuries?

As seen above in the main causes for boating accidents, the operator of the boat plays a big part in the safety of the passengers. If you or your loved one was injured or killed in a boating accident due to the boat operator’s negligence, you may be able to sue the operator for damages.

Sometimes, other passengers will play a role in causing a boating accident. Passengers, especially those who have been drinking heavily, can sometimes act recklessly and cause other passengers to fall into the water, or cause the operator to lose their focus and attention on operating the boat.

Boat manufacturers can also be held responsible for a boating accident if their equipment failed or if safety equipment was working improperly at the time of the accident.

An experienced personal injury attorney who is accomplished in the area of maritime law can help determine who can be held responsible for you or your loved one’s injures. When the injuries are serious, people turn to the Law Offices of John W. Merting for trusted legal guidance and advocacy.