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Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

Labor Day weekend is a popular time to head out to Florida’s many waterways. Whether you are heading out to the rivers of Southern Florida or the beaches of Miami, boating accidents and other water-related accidents remain a concern. According to the Coast Guard and other authorities, holiday weekends tend to have higher rates of water-related injury, and Labor Day is a weekend that usually involves many of these types of injuries. The Coast Guard and other authorities have a number of tips to keep you safer around the water:

1) Never head near the water after drinking.

When you’re out on the water, you already have to deal with the sun, the glare off the water, and the Florida heat. When you add alcohol or drugs to the mix, you have the potential for a truly dangerous situation, especially since alcohol and drugs can exacerbate the effects of the sun. Alcohol and drugs can also affect your mobility and your ability to think clearly, which can result in drowning and other water-related tragedies. Boating under the influence is also illegal and can result in criminal charges.

2) Wear a life jacket.

Each person on board a boat should have a Coast Guard approved life vest. In the event of a boating accident, these vests can help keep you above the water, even if you hit your head or lose consciousness. Life jackets also make you more visible if you do go overboard, increasing the chances that emergency responders can find you.

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With the Fourth of July weekend approaching, many boaters are thinking about heading out on the water, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would like to warn boaters to take steps to prevent boating accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other cities. According to safety experts, there are several things that boaters can do to prevent boating accidents and injuries:

1) Review safety information. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website at myfwc.com offers safety tips and more information for boaters.

2) Treat boating as seriously as you would driving a car. Many people are far more casual about boating, but both tasks require the same motor and cognitive skills and both tasks can be just dangerous.

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3) Get formal safety lessons.
Under laws passed in 2010, if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 you must take an accepted safety course for boaters if you want to operate a watercraft. Even if you do not need to take a safety course by law, however, you will still want to sign up for one. Just as driver’s education can reduce your risk of causing a car accident in Fort Lauderdale or your community, safety instruction can help keep you from being in a boating accident.

4) Wear life jackets – and insist your passengers also wear them. Drowning in Fort Lauderdale and Florida can happen in even shallow water and it is one of the leading causes of boating fatalities. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 61% of boating deaths in 2013 were caused by drowning and 49% of victims were not wearing life jackets at the time of death. Many people assume that they do not need floatation devices or life jackets if they can swim, but life jackets can help you survive if you sustain a head injury in Fort Lauderdale or your community after falling from a boat and lose consciousness.

5) Do not drink and boat. Anything that puts you at risk of a traffic collision in Fort Lauderdale or your community can also put you at risk on the water. Distraction, drinking, and fatigue, for example, are all closely linked to many boating accidents each year, as is speeding.

6) Be prepared. Your boat should have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, a paddle for any engine problems, an anchor and anchor line, a pump, a light for bad conditions, and a communication device so that you can call for help if you need it. Each person on the boat should have a life jacket and a whistle to call for help if they fall overboard.

7) Do consider the effects of the water and the sun. The sun and the glare off the water can exacerbate the effects of alcohol and can also make it harder to focus or to stay awake while fatigued. The movement of the water can also mask the effects of drinking. Often, boaters will not feel the effects of alcohol until they return back to land.

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Now that summer has arrived, the risk of boating accidents and injuries in Fort Lauderdale and other Florida communities has also arrived. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking boaters to use extra caution this year in order to reduce the number of boating-related injuries and accidents.

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In 2013, there were 62 fatalities linked to boating. According to authorities, alcohol use and inexperienced boaters are two main risks that can contribute to boating accidents. Luckily, these common causes of injury are also preventable. This year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is urging boaters to:

1) Avoid drinking while boating. Boating should be treated just like driving. Just as you should not drive drunk in Fort Lauderdale or use drugs before getting behind the wheel, you need to make sure that you stay sober when on the water. About 15% of all fatalities related to boating involved drug or alcohol use. Drinking while boating can lead to criminal charges as well as serious accidents.

2) Be prepared for emergencies. Boaters should bring along whistles, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and enough life jackets for every passenger. Each time boaters and their passengers are on the water, they should be wearing a life jacket. In many boating accidents in Fort Lauderdale, head injuries prevent a victim from being able to swim to safety and a life jacket in this type of situation can help keep the victim afloat until help arrives.

3) Get instruction if you are a new boater or haven’t been on a boat in a while. There are a number of safety courses available that can help new boaters and experienced boaters hone their skills and reduce their chances of a serious injury.

4) Consider the effect of the sun.
The sun reflecting off the water as well as the warmth of a summer day can exacerbate the effects of drowsiness and alcohol. Do not boat if you are fatigued and avoid alcohol entirely so that you can stay aware and alert. Boat when you are in good physical condition to do so and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun.

5) Use extra caution when boating with children. Children need extra supervision on a boat. Boating and swimming related injuries are the cause of many child injuries in Fort Lauderdale and Florida each summer. Children may become fascinated with the water and may lean too far out of a boat. Children on boats should be closely supervised and should be in a life jacket at all times on a boat. Children should also be given swimming lessons early, to ensure that they do know how to swim if they do find themselves in water.

6) Stay focused. Just as distracted driving in Fort Lauderdale and other cities leads to collisions, distracted boating can lead to passengers falling overboard, collisions with other boats, and other problems. When in a boat, focus on safety and be sure to put mobile devices and other distractions away before you hop onboard.

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Miami Beach and many Florida coast communities boast miles of beautiful beaches. While these sandy oases are the backdrop of plenty of summer recreation, the waves can be deadly. Each year, beachgoers face drowning accidents, fractures, sprains, and even organ trauma due to beach accidents. In many cases, these accidents occur due to the force of the waves. To stay safe this summer, make sure that you:

1) Swim only at beaches with lifeguards. Before heading into the water, ask about surf conditions. When out on the water, keep waves in view. Even if you are a strong swimmer, if you are not used to swimming in the ocean you may find yourself in trouble. Many drowning accidents in Miami Beach and other communities occur when tourists try to avoid the crowds on the beaches and end up in remote areas with uncertain conditions and no lifeguards.

2) Use extra caution when wading in the surf zone. The surf zone refers to the area between the edge of the water and the shoreline. While many people like to play in the waves in this area of the beach, this is also where the waves break. Even though the water is shallow, waves can crash into people and knock them over. Child injuries in Miami Beach and on other Florida beaches can easily occur in the surf zone.

3) Supervise children at the beach. While beach-related neck and spinal cord injuries in Miami Beach and at other Florida beaches are rare, they do occur. Children are especially vulnerable to beach injuries. Small children can easily wander off on a crowded beach and can get into trouble even in shallow water. If you are taking children to the beach, ensure that they are properly supervised at all times.

4) Make sure everyone in your family is a strong swimmer. This is one of the best ways to prevent water-related injuries.

5) If you decide to go on a boat tour or rent a boat, stay safe. If you are renting a boat or buying one, make sure that it is safe and ensure that you are familiar with the boat and with safe boating practices. Many boating accidents in Miami Beach and other Florida communities occur due to boat operator inexperience. If you decide to go on a boat tour, ensure that the operator is properly licensed, insured, and experienced in the water.

6) Watch out for traffic. The traffic around popular beaches can be hectic on sunny days, which can easily contribute to a pedestrian accident. In addition, some truck and car accidents do occur on beaches which permit vehicles as well as pedestrians. If you are at a beach that permits vehicles on the sand or has vehicle patrols, be cautious when sunning on the sand – stay well clear of any areas where vehicles may drive.

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According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a boating collision that occurred in in the Florida Keys will likely result in charges. The two-boat Florida Keys accident sent nine people to hospital. Some of the victims suffered head injuries and leg injuries as a result of the accident, which saw one of the boats involved capsize. Authorities say that all injured parties are expected to recover from their injuries.

For boaters in Fort Lauderdale and other Florida communities, the incident highlights the need for boating safety. To prevent boating accidents in Fort Lauderdale and your community, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other safety experts recommend:

1) Getting boating safety instruction. Boating safety courses can help you to learn the basics of staying safe and can even help you with insurance costs. If it has been a while since you last received instruction, consider a refresher course; it is a small investment that could save your life. If you are a new boater, stick to less challenging waters at first and take your boat out with an experienced boater as you build your skills and your confidence. In many cases, boating accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other communities occur because a boater is inexperienced or is not very familiar with safety rules.

2) Boating sober. Drunk driving accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other communities cost far too many lives each year. On the water, as on the roadways, alcohol can kill. You need proper response times and good judgment to boat safely, and this means that you cannot combine drinking and boating. Boating under the influence can result in an accident and in criminal charges, so head out on the boat only when sober. Keep in mind, too, that on the water the influence of alcohol is exacerbated. The bright sun, movement of the boat, and the reflection of the water can mean that even one drink affects your ability to operate a boat safely.

3) Boating without distraction. Distracted driving causes many car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and across Florida each year, but it can also lead to many boating accidents. On the water, a moment of distraction can mean a collision with a swimmer, boat, or inanimate object. When boating, focus on safety.

4) Using life jackets each time you are on the water. Head injuries in Fort Lauderdale are a common result of boating accidents, and if you sustain a head injury after being thrown overboard you may not be able to swim to safety or stay above water. A life jacket keeps you afloat and keeps you visible so that others can help.

5) Carefully consider what boat you use. If you own a boat, check it regularly to ensure that it is safe for the water. Even if you do not own your own boat, however, keep in mind that boating safety can affect you. If you take a boat tour, it is important to check insurance and certification for the tour boat operator and to choose a tour boat company with a good reputation.

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A recent two-boat accident in Biscayne National Park left nine people injured. The incident has highlighted the need for boating safety reviews. With the summer months here, more people are taking advantage of Florida’s many waterways to try out boating. In addition, tourist season is here, and that can mean waterways are more crowded with tour operators and tourists, which can also increase the risk of boating accidents in Miami and other communities. According to safety experts, there are several things that boaters can do to stay safe:

1) Take a water safety course. If you want to buy a boat or already have a boat, it is important to take a safety course to review safe boating practices. According to safety experts, boater inexperience is one of the biggest contributors to boating accidents. If it has been a while since your last boating course, consider taking a refresher course.

2) Treat boating like driving. Most drivers understand the risks of distracted driving or understand how to prevent drunk driving accidents in Miami or other communities. Many of the same rules apply on the water. Never drink while boating; you will need your focus and good response times to avoid collisions on the water. Similarly, when on the water, place your entire focus on boating and on safety. Do not allow yourself to be distracted with mobile devices, passengers, or other distractions.

3) Wear a life vest. If you fall from the boat and sustain a head injury in Miami or your community, a life vest will keep you afloat and visible until help can arrive. Make sure that you wear a proper life vest each time you go boating and insist that all your passengers wear life vests, too.

4) If you are heading out on a tour boat or cruise ship, do your research. Research the company and any safety violations the company has. Ask about staff training, safety policies, and boat maintenance. A reliable tour operator or company will have many safety measures in place to protect you and other passengers – and will be happy to explain safety practices. Do not get onto a boat or cruise ship belonging to a company you do not trust or do not know anything about.

5) Wear appropriate clothing when boating. Sturdy shoes and clothes that allow you to move will make it easier for you to maintain balance in the boat and can help prevent you from falling over on the boat and injuring yourself. In addition to comfortable clothes, be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses so that you can see the water around you, even if glare is a factor.

6) Keep your boat maintained properly. A correctly maintained boat is more likely to respond correctly, which can make it easier to prevent an accident.

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Statistics show that as of October 2012, 41 people across the state had been killed in boating accidents. That is a slight decrease from 49 during the same time period in 2011. Authorities are concerned, however, since last year there was an increase in the number of fatal Florida boating accidents during the final months of the year. In all of 2011, there were 67 boating fatalities in Florida, with most occurring during November and August.

As a result, there is a public safety awareness campaign underway to ensure that boaters understand the risks and stay safe on the water. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other experts, there are several things boaters can do to keep safe:

1) Always wear a life jacket and insist that passengers do, as well. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the leading cause of death in boating accidents is falls overboard. Falls overboard can cause Miami head injuries as well as drowning, and lifejackets can help keep a victim afloat until help arrives.

2) Boat only when sober. In 2011, drugs and alcohol played a role in 15% of fatal boating accidents across Florida. In 90% of cases, the victims were men. Just as Miami drunk driving accidents are a serious concern, DUI boating accidents are also a serious concern. Just as you need all your concentration to drive, you also need to be sober and have your full focus when you are boating.

3) Have a good communication system in place. Tell someone where you will be headed and what time you will be back if you are heading out boating. This way, if you are in a Miami boating accident, someone will know when you do not make it home on time and can alert the authorities, increasing the chances that you will be found.

4) Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suggests keeping a 360-degree view of your surroundings so that you can be aware of what is around you.

5) Get training – including safety training. Inexperienced boaters are more likely to be involved in Miami boating accidents and more likely to sustain Miami personal injury in a boating accident. Knowing how to operate a boat safely and knowing what to do if you are in a collision or accident can increase the chances that you’ll be able to avoid the accident in the first place. Knowing what to do if an accident does occur increases your chances of surviving the accident and minimizing your injuries.

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According to the US Coast Guard there is often an increase in boating accidents in the summer months between July 4 and Labor Day. Since Florida is the nation’s leader when it comes to boating, it is not surprising that the state sees many boating injuries and fatalities each year.

Miami boating accidents can cause a variety of injuries, including Miami head injuries and other injuries due to boat crashes, amputations from a boat propeller, as well as many other types of injuries. Fatalities are also all too common with boating accidents. In many cases, Miami boating accidents are preventable and are caused by boater inexperience, overloading, alcohol or drug use, distracted boating, or congested waters. According to experts, there are many things that can be done to help prevent these types of accidents and injuries:

1) If you plan on operating or owning a boat, take a boater safety education course and refresher courses as needed. These courses are widely available in Miami and help you learn the basics of safety and how to avoid collisions on the water. If it has been some time since you have taken a course, consider a refresher course. The more you hone your skills, the more likely it is that you will be able to avoid an accident if you need to.

2) Insist on lifejackets for everyone on your boat. Carry extra lifejackets on board in different sizes so that everyone has one. A lifejacket can help keep you afloat if you do have an accident and can help you reach shore or help safely.

3) Never operate a boat when under the influence, tired, or distracted. Just as driving sleepy, drunk, or angry can lead to a Miami car accident, boating can also lead to a collision if you are not 100% focused on the boating. Boating requires as much attention as operating a vehicle and the consequences of not paying attention behind the wheel can be just as devastating.

4) Choose your waterways carefully. Congested waters where many types of boats share the waterways can be the most dangerous. Look for a water system where you are comfortable and can operate your boat safely.

5) Carefully research operators if you are heading out on a boat tour. Even if you do not own a boat, you need to consider boating safety if you will be heading out on one of the boat tours that are so popular in the Miami area. Boating accidents can turn these pleasant excursions into a nightmare, so do your research before you go. Make sure that the operator is experienced, insured, and takes care to keep their boat in great condition. A reliable boat tour operator will be pleased to tell you about all the safety features and precautions in place to keep you safe, so if something seems suspect find another tour operator.

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Spring is a popular time for boating in South Florida, since the area has many waterways, a mild climate, and great conditions for spring fishing. However, Florida also leads the US in the number of boating accidents each year. In 2010, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 79 fatal boating accidents took place and 668 serious boating accidents took place on Florida’s waterways. There are many ways to prevent these types of Miami boating accidents:

1) Get boating classes and training. In many cases, Florida boating accidents are caused by inexperience and lack of training. Training and classes give boaters the experience and skills they need to stay safe on the water, and helps boaters understand how to avoid an accident on the water.

2) Do not speed. Speed is a factor in many boating fatalities and speeding is more likely to cause serious injuries, including Miami brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other boating-related injuries.

3) Wear a life jacket at all times. Life jackets are essential for everyone on board. If the boat is capsized, life jackets can save lives.

4) Do not use controlled substances when boating. Many people understand the devastation that Miami drunk driving accidents can cause, but there is less awareness about Boating Under the Influence (BUI). BUI is just as dangerous and just as illegal as drunk driving, and can just as easily lead to an accident. Boaters need motor control and good judgment, and controlled substances can negatively affect both.

5) Stay alert when boating. Many people are now aware that distracted driving can cause Miami car accidents and traffic accidents, but distraction is still one of the leading causes of boating accidents in South Florida. It is important to keep focus on boating when on the water, and also to have a lookout who can check for swimmers, other boaters, and other potential hazards in the water. In fact, in some ways, boating distracted can be even more dangerous than distracted driving, since waterways do not have lanes and clear lines of traffic the way that roadways do. Boaters also may need to contend with weather conditions, wildlife, and natural obstacles as well as other boaters, making distraction even more of a risk.

6) If you are taking a boat tour, check boat tour operators carefully. Miami tourism season includes many interesting water excursions and boat tours. Many have excellent safety records, but it is up to you to verify what precautions a boating tour operator takes to keep you safe. A reputable operator will be more than happy to explain all the precautions taken to keep you safe.

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Statistics show that over twelve million Americans take cruses annually, and while in many cases these vacations are fun-filled and sun-drenched days of fun, for some passengers these cruises become a real cause for concern. Although cruise lines do not release statistics about on-board deaths and injuries, families have been coming forward with tales of missing persons, accidental deaths, and serious injury onboard.

Florida is one of the most popular states for cruises, with many cruise ships leaving and visiting the Port of Everglades, the Port of Palm Beach, the Port of Miami, the Port of Tampa, and the Port of Canaveral each year. As a result, there is natural concern in the state about the safety of cruise ships and cruise vacations. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office reported 97 cruise ship deaths between 1999 and 2007 while the Miami Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office has reported 33 such fatalities between 2004 and 2007.

Part of the reason for deaths on board cruise ships is the older age of passengers. According to some cruise line industry sources, the average age on cruise ships is 49 and on some ships, the average age is much higher. Therefore, the majority of cruise ship deaths are due to natural causes. According to the medical investigators who investigate all cruise ship deaths in the US, the majority of deaths are caused by heart attacks, strokes, and other medical reasons.

However, some Miami cruise ship injuries and deaths are due to preventable causes. Miami slip and fall accidents, for example, can be common on cruises, as the ships are in motion and since water can get on board the decks in some cases. Some cruise ships have narrow stairs, which can also pose a fall hazard.

In the past few years, a number of legal actions have been initiated after cruise ship passengers have drowned, sustained pool accidents, and have sustained other accidents. Some lawsuits have also been launched due to Miami accidental deaths on board cruise ships. Cruise lines have a responsibility to keep passengers safe and when sliding doors or bunk beds do not function, when hatches are left open, and when mooring lines are not secured correctly, passengers do have legal remedies for any injuries they suffer as a result.

Passengers can seek to reclaim the costs of transportation to medical facilities, the costs of medical care, and any related expenses caused by an accident. Even with travel insurance, the costs of being injured aboard a cruise ship can be substantial.

If you have sustained a personal injury while on board a cruise ship, it is important to speak to a qualified Miami personal injury attorney right away. There is a one year statute of limitations on many cruise ship accident and injury claims, so delaying legal action could mean that you lose the ability to seek legal redress. Cruise ship lawsuits are also complex because cruise ship companies can choose which jurisdiction any legal cases will take place. Filing in the wrong jurisdiction could have a negative impact on your case.

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