FLORIDA: Chartering a boat and taking to an ocean journey for a festive gathering can make for a memorable Miami moment. However, hiring a boat is different than hiring an Uber or renting a car, and when people fail to tell the difference, a boat ride can end tragically or simply go bust. Such was the case in Biscayne Bay this past Sunday when a 45-foot yacht called “Sea You Twerk’ was pulled over by the U.S. Coast Guard and held for violation of boating safety regulations. Unfortunately for the boat operators and the 14 passengers on board, the trip was cut short after the Coast Guard verified no licensed captain on board and no certificate of vessel inspection. This latest incident is just one in a string of cases where unsuspecting people charter boats that may not meet with safety operating standards. The Coast Guard warns people to take caution when chartering a boat, or any water vessel for that matter, by making sure the operators meet all safety standards.
BOATING SAFETY AND REGULATIONS
The best way to steer clear of serious injury from a boating accident is to be familiar with the rules and regulations pertinent to boat owners and operators. There are specific rules governing the command or usage of boats and water vessels according to the location and even the time of year. There are also laws regulating the type and amount of safety equipment that must be on board, such as long range communications equipment and life vests. In addition, there are laws limiting the amount of alcohol a boat operator may consume without running the risk of being charged with boating under the influence. Florida law requires that individuals under the age of 21 must take an approved boating safety course and be awarded a boating safety ID card to operate a boat with 10 horsepower or more. They must also carry the ID card and a photo ID issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
BOATING AND NATURE
South Florida waterways are not only shared with other boaters but also with marine life that is unique to Florida. A number of species such as rare turtles and endangered manatees are protected by laws. During migration or reproductive seasons, laws and regulations limit the locations and the speeds for boats. Being familiar with these regulations can prevent an excessive fine or an injury resulting from a collision with a large manatee. There are many boat and personal watercraft (jet-ski) owners lack navigational skills and fail to possess the proper experience to operate their vessels upon the navigable waters of the State of Florida. In a recent report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 714 reportable accidents from 2016 compared to 766 in 2017. There was also a rise in the number of registered boating vessels in Florida, which increased by 20,000 cases since 2016. Most importantly, those chartering a boat must verify that there is a certified and licensed individual navigating a boat that is verified legitimately as seaworthy.
BOATING ACCIDENT REACTION
If personal injury occurs during a boating accident in Miami, safety becomes paramount. It is important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. A common cause of injury in a boating accident involves brain injury from depriving the brain of oxygen in a drowning incident. Serious injuries such as bone fractures and concussions are also common when boat passengers fall or are thrown off the vessel in a collision with another boat or object. When safe to do so, document the accident by taking note of the vessel’s operator license, registration number, the location of the accident, the water and weather conditions at the time of the accident and the contact information for other individuals involved in the accident.
Following an injury in a Miami boating accident, it is important to document the treatment of your injuries. We recommend keeping a diary where you can document frequency and type of treatment, any incurred expenses, missed work and the treatment progress. If a claim for damages is denied, it is important to have sufficient evidence to prove the expenses incurred as a result of a boating accident. With time, memories tend to fade and records may become lost, which the insurance companies use to avoid providing just compensation for the victims of boating accidents.
The Perazzo Law Firm Serves Boating and Watersport accident victims in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. If you, a friend, or relative has suffered personal injury, property damage, loss, or wrongful death from a boating related accident, Contact Perazzo Law ONLINE or CALL (786) LAWS-411 for a FREE consultation with the firm’s Miami or North Miami Beach personal injury staff of attorneys.
THE PERAZZO LAW FIRM – DEDICATED TO PUTTING YOUR INTERESTS FIRST…ALWAYS!
Atendemos con orgullos a la Comunidad Hispana