A boat accident on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale killed one person, and injured at least two others. The accident occurred at approximately 8 p.m. behind a house at the 3200 block of N.E. 38th Street in the Coral Ridge section of Fort Lauderdale. The area is near several popular waterfront bars such as Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill, Kaluz Restaurant, and Shooters Waterfront.
It is reported that the accident happened when a boat went head on into a corner of a seawall that borders the intracoastal. The boat is reported to have been traveling at a high rate of speed, and racing side by side with another boat. When the boat hit the seawall, one of the occupants, a 24-year-old Hollywood man, was ejected from the boat and most likely hit the seawall.
The area of the intracoastal waterway where the accident happened is one of a few areas in Fort Lauderdale where boats are allowed to travel at fast speeds. Most of the other sections of the waterway in Fort Lauderdale are slow and minimum wake zones except for small boats engaged in watersports activities like skiing and tubing. However, this area of the intracoastal is very wide; plenty wide enough for 4-5 boats to safely operate in the area. And, it should have still been daylight out when the Fort Lauderdale boat accident occurred, so it is unclear why the boat traveled into the seawall, or why it would have even been operating close to the seawall.
The accident was investigated by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, as well as the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Reports at the scene of the accident indicate that the occupants of the second boat involved said the two boats were “splashing” each other. For many years, boats in the speed sections of Fort Lauderdale have engaged in “spray fights” where a boat traveling at a high rate of speed will turn sharply to throw water off its own hull into the air, and onto a boat next to it. It is a very dangerous practice, and may have led to the accident Saturday night.
It will take a good amount of time to determine exactly how and why the accident occurred. The investigation will surely include witness statements as there were approximately 10 people on the two boats. Another method to investigate a boating death accident is to utilize a boats GPS computer or chart plotter. While not all boats are equipped with GPS or a chart plotter, most units will record a boats speed and the track the boat took. If either boat was equipped with GPS or a chart plotter, this will definitely aid the police in their investigation.
The police and media reports did not indicate whether alcohol played a part in the accident.
Even if alcohol was not a factor, the estate of the man that was killed will most likely have a wrongful death claim based upon the reckless operation of the boat. There is no reason to be operating a boat at high speeds that close to the seawall in that area of the intracoastal.