Rising Number of Boating Accidents in Florida Can Lead to Serious Injuries

February 8, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Rising Number of Boating Accidents in Florida Can Lead to Serious Injuries

Boating Accidents Increase Across Florida

Boating activity is a major tourist attraction in Sarasota, Florida. With it, however, comes a likely increased rise in boating accidents, injuries, and deaths. Florida continues to lead the nation in boating accidents—a problem only intensified as summer approaches and temperatures rise.

Florida Leads the Nation in Boating Accidents

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard in its annual report, there were 684 boating accidents in Florida alone in 2016—an increase from the 671 boating accidents the year before. Florida had the most boating accidents in 2016 compared to any other state. According to the report, 59 of the Florida boating accidents in 2016 involved deaths. It is estimated that the 684 total Florida boating accidents resulted in approximately $9.6 million in damages. Nationwide, the report lists 4,463 recreational boating accidents. Of that number, there were 701 fatalities and 2,903 injuries. Boating deaths rose 12 percent from 2015 to 2016. The annual report included boating statistics submitted by the fifty U.S. states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

Boating Accidents Often Caused by Careless Conduct

A report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicates that a collision with another vessel is the leading type of boating accident in Florida. According to the FWC, collisions account for 25% of all boating accidents, followed by accidents involving towed watersport activities and paddle crafts (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, paddle boards). Other types of Florida boating accidents include collisions with fixed objects, flooding, falls overboard, fuel fires or explosions, falls on the boat, capsizing, striking underwater objects, and sinking. Often, these accidents are the result of alcohol or drug use, impaired or distracted vehicle operation, boater inexperience, excessive speed, or failing to follow waterway rules. The report specifically lists these primary causes of Florida boating accidents, in order from most to least common:
  • No proper look-out/inattention
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure
  • Carelessness/recklessness
  • Hazardous waters
  • Weather
  • Other
  • Alcohol use
  • Skier or occupant behavior
  • Equipment failure
  • Vision obstructed
  • Sharp turn
  • Congested waters
  • Improper anchoring
  • Hull failure
  • Violation of navigation rule
  • Ignition of fuel vapor
  • Failure to vent fumes
  • Standing/sitting on gunwale, bow or transom
  • Lack of proper lights
When it comes to fatalities, the majority of deaths involved overboard drowning accidents, with alcohol or drugs often involved.

Florida Boating Accidents on the Rise; Sarasota Victims Face Serious Injuries

When boats collide or crash, passengers often sustain significant physical injuries. Some of the injuries that people sustain in Florida boating accidents include:
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Burns
  • Sprains and strains
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Hypothermia
  • Dislocations
In severe instances, boating accident victims can incur spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, anoxic brain injuries, and amputations:

Boat Accident Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body, the head shaking violently and causing the brain to move around within the skull, or a dangerous object penetrating brain tissue—all of which may occur in a boating accident. These injuries can be life-threatening or result in long-term mental and physical impairments. Traumatic brain injuries that can occur in a boating accident include concussions, coup-contrecoup injury, diffuse axonal brain injury, and much more.

Boat Accident Anoxic Brain Injuries

Anoxic brain injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain that causes damage to the brain cells. In many boating accidents, passengers are thrown overboard and underwater, often at risk of drowning. Without proper oxygen to the brain, anoxic brain injuries can lead to permanent cognitive issues. These issues can have an effect on someone's ability to work, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Boat Accident Spinal Cord Injuries

Like traumatic brain injuries, a spinal cord injury is often caused by violent collisions common in boating accidents. Damage to the spinal cord or nerves can lead to permanent changes in strength, sensation, and motor function below the injury site. Due to the variety of boating accidents and how, where, and when they occur, no one type of injury is most common, other than fatalities caused by drowning. Victims of boating accidents can suffer from burns, traumatic brain injuries, lung infections due to water inhalation, broken bones, and even spinal injuries as the result of being thrown overboard.

Boat Accident Law Complications

When these accidents occur on a navigable public waterway, the accident may fall under federal admiralty jurisdiction, which has its own unique set of laws. This means it is very important that you speak with an experienced Florida maritime and personal injury attorney after your accident to evaluate your circumstances and discuss what options may be available to you.

Contact a Sarasota Boating Injury Lawyer You Can Trust

If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident due to someone else's fault, such as an inexperienced or distracted boater, or a boater under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has the Florida personal injury and maritime attorneys you need to analyze your case and get you the compensation you deserve. We aggressively fight for our clients and diligently advocate on their behalf. Our experienced and empathetic legal team knows how to navigate the intricacies of federal admiralty law and how to sort through the insurance and liability issues that are commonly seen after Florida boating accidents.

Contact the Attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a Free and Confidential Consultation Today

The attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA step in and handle the legal process of a Florida boating accident so your focus remains where it needs to be—on your health. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a boating accident as the result of the negligent or reckless conduct of another individual or business, contact the Sarasota personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free, no obligation and confidential consultation. All of our Florida boating injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means we only receive a legal fee when we succeed on your behalf. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's Sarasota boating injury attorneys can assist you with evaluating your case and determining what your legal rights are and whether or not you have a valid claim. Our team of highly skilled boating injury lawyers has helped many victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We are conveniently located in University Park, Florida. Call us today for a free case review at (941) 210-7586. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 8039 Cooper Creek Blvd suite 105 University Park, FL 34201-3007 (941) 210-7586 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/maritime-law-attorneys/boating-accident/


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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