Pontoon Boat Accident in Florida…Who is Liable? Pontoon boats are basically rafts with a motor. But did you know that pontoon boat accidents cause more deaths from drowning than the much faster personal watercraft? Each year, pontoon boats account for about 4% of deaths, compared to all other vessel types. While this number may appear low, it is higher than other popular vessels, such as sailboats, inflatable rafts, These deaths vary in age, and is one of the few vessels that have more deaths reported for older people, than younger. This means the deaths are not caused by kids lack of ability to swim or adhere to rules. Rather, there is something more dangerous at play. People falling over the front of the pontoon and being struck by the propeller is a major reason for these accidents. Many of these victims were “bow riding.” They sit on the front deck and dangle their feet and legs in the water when the boat is moving. In all of these cases, there is one common theme of a cause of injury: the propeller. While it may seem that a driver of a boat should not be liable if someone is hurt by the propeller of their pontoon, that may not be the case. In one case, a negligence action was brought to recover damages for personal injuries suffered by a minor while on a pontoon boat operated by the defendants. The pontoon boat was propelled by an outboard motor mounted at the back of the boat. The driver allowed 3 children to sit on the front edge of the boat. The three kids were kicking at the wake caused by the pontoon and one of the children stretched his leg out too far, fell into the water. The boy was caught in the propeller at the rear of the boat and was injured. The court held that the driver of the boat could be held liable. Usually, the driver of a pontoon boat insures his vessel. Most states actually require them to do so. The insurance will generally cover the operator from personal injury to a guest on their boat. Therefore, if one is injured on a pontoon, they may have a legal cause of action against the operator, his insurance, and the boat manufacturer. If the boat was rented out, as is often the case, they may have a cause of action against the company that rented it out.