Living in sunny South Florida, it’s as common to witness a boating accident as it is to witness a car crash. Being surrounded by water and year-long warm weather, it’s easy to understand how so many residents and vacationers would be eager to head out to the nearest beach or lake to enjoy a day out at sea. However, as each boating accident lawyer at our firm can confirm, there is a dark side to boating that not everyone pays attention to.
A boat accident can happen at any time and to anyone. Whether the victim is the pilot, a passenger on a vessel or riding on an inner tube, there are endless ways for an individual to get hurt during water sports and activities, but they usually involve someone else’s negligent actions.
Boating accidents can result from several factors, including pilot inexperience, failure of the pilot to pay attention to their surroundings, speeding, and operating under the influence of alcohol. The more traffic there is on the open waters, the easier it is for an accident to occur, but freak accidents are also common here in Florida.
Each state has its own set of boating laws that must be abided by, but sadly, there are frequent violations that can lead innocent people to get hurt. Sometimes, the accident is the result of the vessel or personal water craft (PWC) manufacturer’s negligence, attributed to mechanical errors or design flaws. But while an accident involving a motorboat, sail boat or Jet Ski is commonplace here in Florida, the same kinds of incidents can happen anywhere in the world.
Just this weekend, a motorboat accident in Sweden has left authorities stumped. The incident resulted in the deaths of three people, but investigators are coming up against a brick wall while trying to find answers regarding what led to the accident.
Emergency maritime authorities were called to a lake in Örnsköldsvik in north eastern Sweden after another boater notice an overturned vessel had washed to shore. When the boat was turned over, two bodies were discovered underneath and two others were beside it. Three of the boaters were pronounced dead at the accident scene, but the fourth boater was still alive and rushed to an area hospital with critical injuries. Police also launched a search party because they were unsure if any other passengers had been riding in the motorboat.
Investigators don’t have much to go on, but suspect the vessel crashed into a nearby buoy. The surviving boating accident victim, who remains hospitalized, was the pilot of the vessel, but authorities have yet to say whether the victim is in any condition to be questioned.
There are endless factors that could have caused this tragic boating accident. Was there unfavorable weather during the weekend that could have impaired the pilot’s vision and made it difficult to see the buoy? Was the pilot under the influence of alcohol? Was the entire group distracted?
This wouldn’t be the first time a boating accident investigation comes up short. Here in the U.S., a boating accident lawyer can be called to action following any kind of vessel accident to help investigate the incident and gather evidence. If for some reason the crash was the result of someone’s negligence in failing to abide by proper boating safety laws, those responsible may be liable to pay damages to victims or to the loved ones of victims who are killed in the accident.
It’s important for anyone who is involved in an accident involving a vessel or personal water craft to understand they have the right to seek legal counsel. Even when an accident results in relatively mild injuries, the trauma of the accident alone can be enough to leave the victim emotionally scarred. A boating accident lawyer can help protect the victim’s rights and can help them seek justice for their pain and suffering.
It’s equally important for anyone who enjoys water activities and sports to follow maritime laws in order to stay as safe as possible. Here in the U.S., it’s summertime, and summertime means boating season is in full force. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. would like to remind everyone to exercise extreme caution while out in the open waters, and have fun, but remain prudent about the possible dangers that can be faced.
Here are a few tips that can help boaters and water-lovers stay as safe as possible during boating season:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages, but if alcohol is consumed, there should be a designated pilot to preserve the safety of everyone onboard the vessel
- Make sure you have a complete understanding of how to operate your vessel or personal water craft to prevent an equipment-related accident
- Operate your vessel or personal water craft at a safe speed and keep a safe distance from other boaters or persons in the water
By following these simple steps, you can reduce your chances of getting hurt in the open waters and can enjoy your time out at sea or a your local lake while being a little more at ease that you have taken care to protect yourself and your loved ones from harm.