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Coast Guard Reports Florida Leads the Nation in Boating Accidents

According to a recent report released by the United States Coast Guard, the state of Florida has the highest number of boat-related accidents and deaths. This may not come as a surprise to those who know Florida and its massive coastline. In fact, Florida is second only to Alaska for states with the largest coastal area.

half-sunken-boat-1438226-1-mThe study notes that there were 682 boat accidents in 2013, a rise from the previous high in 2012 of 662. This figure represents the highest number of accidents by far, with other states not even close. To give the reader an idea of the percentage of accidents that occurred in Florida alone, there were a total of 4,062 accidents nationwide. Therefore, the 682 that occurred in Florida represent over 16% of the accidents across the entire country.

As far as boating-related fatalities, the US Coast Guard reports that Florida had 58. While this figure represents a low for the past five years, it still puts Florida at the top of the list for boating fatalities.

While the report does not break down the number of accidents and fatalities according to county, it is safe to say that the Florida Keys are where a large number of accidents occur each year. Other states at the top of the list were California with 426 accidents and New York with 180 accidents. In total, there were only 11 states that have over 100 accidents.

Causes of Boat Accidents and Deaths

Far and away, the most common cause of boat accidents is BWI, or boating while intoxicated. Of the number of boat accidents where the cause could be determined, boating while intoxicated was the cause of 16%.

As far as what actually happens to cause the accident, the following is a list of the leading causes of boating crashes:

  • Operator error
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Machine failure
  • Excessive speed

Civil Liability for Boating Accidents

Those who are intoxicated and cause an accident while on a boat can be held liable for their negligence, including the costs of medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages due to the injuries sustained in the accident. In cases where one boater was drinking and caused an accident, the law is on the side of the victim, allowing the victim to more easily prove his or her case with specific legal mechanisms.

Have You Been Injured by a Drunk Boater?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a boating accident that you believe was caused because someone else was operating their boat while intoxicated, you may be able to collect a monetary award to compensate you for your injuries or loss. An experienced Ocala personal injury attorney can help.  The Dean Law Firm has years of experience in Florida personal injury law and knows what it takes to pursue recovery for their clients in Florida courts. To learn more about liability in boating accidents, click here, or call 352-387-8700 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

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Florida Court Corrects Arbitrator’s Error of Law in Recent Court of Appeals Case, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 31, 2014.