Recently in Boating Accidents Category

March 21, 2011

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) in Florida

Spring is upon is in South Florida, which means more tourists, busier roadways and the start of boating season. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) latest statistics, there were 982,470 registered vessels in Florida in 2009 - over 45,000 of which are registered in Broward County.

Of the top 10 counties in Florida with the most boating accidents in 2009, Broward County ranked number 5, with 30 accidents and 12 injuries. Palm Beach County ranked number 3, with 56 accidents, 21 injuries and 3 fatalities. Miami-Dade County ranked number 2, with 62 accidents, 52 injuries and 4 fatalities.

Fort Lauderdale - also known as the boating and yachting capital of the world - is home to thousands of boats and yachts. As our waterways start to attract more spring breakers, boating enthusiasts and locals, it is important to remember boating safety. While many Florida boating accidents are caused by inattentive or inexperienced drivers, many boating accidents are alcohol or drug-related as well. Boating Under the Influence - or BUI - is a serious crime which puts not only the boat driver and their passengers' lives at risk, but other people's lives as well.

A BUI is similar to a DUI in that the arrested person would have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher (0.02 for boat drivers under 21) and their boat will be impounded, just as a person's car is impounded when they are arrested for a DUI. According to the FWC, alcohol or drug use account for 18.5 percent of boating-related deaths.

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June 15, 2010

Unregulated Industry: Miami Parasailing Accident Raises Questions about Parasailing Safety

Millions of people visit Florida each year for its theme parks, beaches and water sports. Parasailing is one of the most popular water sports that families partake in when they visit Florida cities such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Although parasailing accidents are a rarity in the news, injuries and deaths resulting from parasailing accidents do happen. The website parasail.org offers consumer information and parasailing accident reports.

On June 7th, 2010, a Chicago father and his 6-year-old daughter were injured in a parasailing accident in Miami. The accident happened when the boat towing the parasail lost power. The boat captain decided to cut the rope so that the father and daughter would avoid a collision with port cranes. After landing in the water, the two were dragged and eventually hit a seawall in the Port of Miami when the wind re-opened the parasail. The father and daughter were taken to the hospital and released the next day.

Luckily, the father and daughter from Chicago survived their parasailing accident. However, fatal parasailing accidents have occurred in Florida. In 2007, a deadly parasailing accident in Pompano Beach claimed the life of a 15-year-old girl and injured her sister when the girls crashed onto the roof of a building. Strong winds caused the parasail to spin until the rope that was attached to the boat snapped, leaving the young women helplessly flying through the air. The National Weather Service had issued a thunderstorm warning shortly before the girls' parasailing trip, but the boat captain proceeded to conduct rides despite such warnings.

Unfortunately, parasailing is currently unregulated by state and federal governments. Parasailing operators are not regulated by either the Coast Guard or the Department of Labor. The National Foundation for Parasail Regulations (NFPR) was started in an effort to establish mandatory operating guidelines. Some of these guidelines include monitoring weather warnings and operating at safe wind speeds. NFPR's goal is to get state and federal authorities to enforce safety guidelines in order to reduce accidents and hopefully avoid deaths resulting from this activity. Furthermore, The Amber May Law, named after the aforementioned young woman who was killed in a Pompano Beach parasailing accident, aims to establish guidelines and standards for the parasailing industry. The proposed law has not yet gone into effect.

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December 21, 2009

Davie, Florida Man Severs Leg in Airboat Accident

A Davie, Florida, man's leg was severed recently in an airboat accident that occurred in the remote western swamps of Miami-Dade County.  According to reports, three Davie residents occupied a homemade airboat when it collided with another vessel that was occupied by residents of Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, and Davie.  Although the boat crash is still under investigation, it is believed that the man's leg was severed after he fell into the propeller.  The man was airlifted by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, along with the other two occupants of the airboat, to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard's Recreational Boating Statistics 2008, collision with another vessel ranks first among all boating accidents with 1237 incidents, 856 injuries, and 60 deaths for the year.  The leading cause of boating accidents is careless or reckless operation of the vessel.  Airboat accidents represent only a small percentage of the total recreational boating accidents with 2 reported drowning deaths attributed to airboat operation and 25 injuries.  In Florida, there were 616 total boating accidents with 55 fatalities and 371 injured people in 2008.

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May 26, 2009

Three Florida Children Dead After Boat Accident

In a tragic accident, three children died this weekend after a boating accident in which their vessel capsized on Lake George in Ocala, Florida.  According to reports, the boat overturned on Sunday evening after a thunderstorm created three to four foot waves that broke over the boat and flooded the 20-foot Sea Ray. 

According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida leads the nation in the number of registered vessels with over one million. Unfortunately, Florida also leads the nation in number of boating accidents, injuries, and deaths.  According to the report, there were 657 boat accidents which resulted in 54 deaths in 2008.  The leading cause of death in boating accidents is drowning after falling overboard.  Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County all rank in the top five of Florida counties with the highest boat accident incident rates.

The FWC also reports that 72% of all boat operators involved in a boat accident in Florida have no formal boater education.  This fact, coupled with statistics that most boat accidents occur because of a collision with another vessel and operator inattention, means that far too many preventable deaths and injuries are occurring because of the negligence of other boaters.  To combat this problem, the FWC provides a number of online and on-site boater safety and operational education courses.

 

 

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