A mass of boats rushing to return to the marina after a Fourth of July fireworks show in Miami, Florida turned into a chaotic rescue operation when three of the boats collided at high speed, killing four people and injuring another dozen. This deadly boat accident occurred around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, July 4, 2014. It happened near the Dinner Key Marina in Miami. One of the boats involved was a 36 foot pleasure watercraft with a full cabin, while the others were open fishing style boats with outboard motors.
Rescuers spent hours following the accident attempting to determine how many people were killed, missing, or hurt. The darkness reigned confusion, and despair sunk in when the number of deceased victims continue to climb.
Though boating in the U.S. has become increasingly safe in the past few years, this Miami crash highlights the still lethal dangers. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 560 boating related deaths in 2013 and over 2,620 injuries. This equates to 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered boats, which is a significant decrease in fatal accidents since 2011. Nevertheless, as this recent accident illustrates, accidents can still occur.
Our Miami boat accident lawyers have prepared the following list of the most common causes of boat accidents in Florida, intended to help you stay safe while hitting the waterways this summer.
1. Crowded waterways: The number of boats in Florida’s many waterways increases drastically during the warm summer months. Holidays like the Fourth of July will drive even more crowds to the water. Along with this increase in the number of boats comes a rise in the number of inexperienced boaters. Summer boaters are often only occasional operators. Combine their inexperience with the distractions of friends and family, and possible consumption of alcohol, and accidents can occur.
2. Alcohol: Over half of all boating fatalities and accidents can be traced back to drunk boat operators. Drinking excessively while operating a boat is not just illegal, it is dangerous.
3. Speed: Boating at excessive speeds for the waterway, conditions, and your experience level can lead to accidents. At night, speed can be especially dangerous as it is difficult to judge distance on the water. Excessive speed diminishes awareness as to the presence of obstacles, such as tubers, boaters, jet skiers, or sandbars. Speed often goes hand in hand with alcohol consumption.
4. Failure of equipment on the boat: It is important to maintain your boat in prime condition, regularly inspecting the engine, communication system, steering system, navigation system, and more. Sometimes, however, even the best maintenance will not prevent a faulty part from malfunctioning and causing an accident.
I make it a rule to not drink any alcohol if I’m the boat captain. Boats have no brakes and don’t always respond well. Trying to avoid a collision often results in something bad happening. Another proble is that there are many inexperienced boaters operating pleasure craft. There are rules of the road, even on the water which need to be followed. Knowing how to navigate is critical. Operating a boat in the dark is a vert dangerous activity and should only be done by very experienced captains.
Unfortunately our firm has represented many victims of boating related incidents. We have represented some very badly injured people. We have brought claims against the boat operators and owner’s and look to their insurance companies to provide them with a defense and to eventually pay the claim. Many people at first are hesitant ,to make a claim becaue most times, it’s a friend or famly member who is at fault.
I believe that the captain should be the first one to tell their friend/passenger to file a claim as they have insurance which can help pay medical bills, lost wages and damages for severe injuries if they were negligent. Accidents, whether on the water or on the roadways are just that for the most part, “accidents” and not “on purposes.” That’s we as a society have liability insurance because none of us are perfect.
If you have been involved in a boat accident that may have been caused by the negligence of a boat operator or a faulty piece of equipment, a personal injury attorney can help you recover your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Helping All Boating Victims Obtain a Full Recovery
If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, contact the South Florida Personal Injury Law Firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano For over 120 collective years, we have aggressively represented the victims of boat accidents across South Florida. Our commitment to excellence of legal services has earned us an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.