The marine industry is a significant part of South Florida’s economy. It is estimated that this industry generates more than $8.9 billion in economic activity and 107,000 jobs in Florida. Florida’s beautiful weather and waterways draw thousands of recreational boaters each year.
Given the popularity of Florida’s boating industry, it is therefore not surprising that there are hundreds of accidents and injuries each year. Many of these accidents are caused by the reckless or negligent conduct of boat operators, including boat operators driving while intoxicated.
Miami Police Step Up Efforts to Make Waters Safer
Miami officials have increased efforts to make South Florida’s waters safer. These efforts are in response to a boating accident during July 4th when four people were killed and three others were seriously injured. Alcohol may have contributed to the accident.
Officials are focusing primarily on boating under influence. Alcohol is one of the primary factors of boating accidents. Under Florida boating regulations:
A vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood- or breath-alcohol level is at or above .08; and
Any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath-alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.
Officials are increasing the number of checkpoints and will periodically change checkpoint locations. According to the New York Times story, the executive director of Marine Industries Association of South Florida said, “It’s a few bad apples, and the lack of a coordinated effort and the lack of money for enforcement, that is affecting this.”
It remains to be seen what effect these increased efforts will have on reducing the number of accidents.
Liability for Reckless or Negligent Operation of a Boat
Under Florida regulations, “[a]nyone who operates a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property will be cited for reckless operation.” This is a first-degree misdemeanor.
In addition, the operator of the boat may be subject to civil liability. The boat operator has a duty to operate the boat in a reasonable and prudent manner based on the circumstances and conditions. When the boat operator breaches this duty, the operator can be liable for damages to property or a person.
If you are injured during a boating accident, it is important that you act quickly to protect your rights, including reporting the incident to the police and contacting an attorney. An attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. A boating accident can cause severe and permanent injuries and sometimes even death. A boating accident attorney can help you recover monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Contact a Miami Boating Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident, contact the Perez-Gurri Law Firm for help today. Our firm has experience handling all types of boating accidents in Miami, including Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County. We want to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation or visit our office in Coral Gables, Florida.