Several weeks ago, a speed boat in South Florida struck and killed a snorkeler. The accident occurred in Miami-Dade County’s Haulover Marina. The speedboat was coming back from Bimini—the westernmost district of the Bahamas located about 53 miles due east of Miami, Florida.
The snorkeler and two of his friends had been traveling on a small boat in the area before they went snorkeling. According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the speedboat ran over the victim and the boat’s propeller hit the snorkeler. The victim suffered severe lacerations to his arm. Paramedics airlifted the man to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital with life-threatening “critical” injuries.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials were called to investigate to the scene. According to officials, the snorkeler and his friends were “out there on the ocean enjoying a wonderful day when the snorkelers saw a vessel approaching them.” The men saw the speedboat coming and tried to make it back to their boat. Unfortunately, the speedboat struck one snorkeler, who died later from his injuries.
Immediately following the accident, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials interviewed the driver of the speedboat and took the man to FWC headquarters, as required by standard operating procedures in these types of cases. In addition, officials spoke with the two other men on the smaller boat. At the time of the accident, one man was in the boat and another man was in the water with the victim.
Florida Boating Accidents and Regulations
Under Florida law, divers in the water must display a divers-down flag, which “must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches, and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled.” The flag must be displayed at the vessel’s highest point, so that the flag’s visibility is not obstructed in any direction. According to officials, the snorkeler and the men apparently displayed their flag appropriately.
If a vessel of an operator is involved in a boating accident involving personal injury beyond immediate first-aid, death, or disappearance indicating death or injury then the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the local sheriff or police must be contacted. The operator of the vessel must remain at the scene.
Vessel operators are required to operate their vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard to other vessels, posted restrictions and divers-down flags. Anyone who operates a vessel with willful disregard to the safety of person or property can be cited for reckless operation—a first-degree misdemeanor.
Contact a Miami, Florida Boating Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been involved in a boating accident, a Miami boating accident attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. The Perez-Gurri Law Firm has significant experience representing boating accident victims in protecting their rights. Contact a Miami boating accident attorney today for an initial consultation and case evaluation.