Florida’s Gulf, Atlantic, Everglades and waterways attract people from all over the world. Residents and tourists alike use a variety of watercraft to enjoy the water features, bringing heavy boat traffic and potential for accidents. Boating law is very complicated, and may be governed by state, federal, admiralty and maritime law. If you have been injured in a boating accident, you need a skilled, hardworking attorney by your side to advocate for you to receive the compensation that you deserve.

Boat Operator Responsibilities

Boat users have a responsibility to navigate cautiously, and to share the waterways with other watercraft. Populated waterways can lead to significantly more risk for accidents and injury caused by reckless or negligent boat operators. Boat operators are responsible for operating their vessels in a safe manner, taking precautions so that they avoid injury or property damage. They must use caution to avoid boating traffic and observe posted restrictions. Under Florida law, any person who operates a vessel in a manner that disregards the safety of persons or property may be cited for reckless operation. Reckless operation is a first degree misdemeanor under Florida’s boating law.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

There are many types of watercraft that people use to enjoy Florida’s numerous waterways. Some are motorized, such as motor boats or jet skis, designed to travel quickly and powerfully through the water. Some rely on wind power, such as windsurfing boards or sail boats. Others are propelled by paddles, like kayaks or canoes. When a wide variety of vessels share a body of water, conflicts often arise. Holidays and other periods of high tourism draw larger numbers of people to Florida’s waterways, increasing the likelihood of boating accidents and injuries. Unless areas are specifically designated for certain types of watercraft, all watercraft must share the body of water and use caution to avoid incidents. Some common causes of boating accidents include:
  • Equipment failure
  • Inexperienced boat operator
  • Distracted boat operator
  • Speeding
  • Hazardous waters
  • Reckless or careless boat operation
  • Influence of drugs or alcohol

What can I recover?

The operator of the boat may be liable for any injuries caused by negligence. If the injury was caused due to a deficient boat design or some defect in the watercraft, the manufacturer may be liable for injuries. An experienced lawyer can help you determine what damages may be available to you. You may be eligible to recover for:
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
If you have suffered a boating injury, you should speak with an experienced attorney to determine what sorts of damages you may be eligible to recover. Seidensticker and San Filippo are experienced attorneys who are familiar with maritime law. We will handle your case professionally and compassionately, keeping you involved every step of the way. We understand that personal injury cases can be devastating, physically and emotionally, not only to the injured person, but also to their families. Contact us today for a consultation.