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South Florida Boating Accidents Continue To Occur


Last weekend, two boats collided just west of Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park.   Eighteen people were on board both boats, including 16 on just one boat.  A total of 10 passengers required emergency room treatment, including one person airlifted to Kendall Regional Hospital with a head injury.  Although no one was killed, authorities said it was a very serious accident. Reports indicate that one of the boats was a 36-foot Carrera powerboat.  The other boat sank at the scene.  All 10 injured passengers were sent to Kendall Regional Medical Center.

Serious boating incidents continue to occur in the waters off South Florida, and in particular, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.  According to Andy Bickel, an investigator with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement, “The frequency of boating accidents in Florida and their causes would probably shock most people.”

Most Recent Year of Boating Accident Statistics Available Are Not Very Encouraging                       In 2011, the South Florida counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach saw more than their share of boating injuries and deaths. In fact nearly every type of boating mishap occurred that year.

  • In January of 2011, in Delray Beach, a 32-foot cabin cruiser exploded due to a gas leak. One man died in that accident;
  • In early June of 2011, a man drowned near Hillsboro Inlet after his 15-foot boat sank;
  • Later that same month, two men fishing near Hillsboro Inlet saw their 18-foot boat get flipped over by high waves. One man survived while the other drowned;
  • In November of 2011, a man was fatally injured after his 25-foot boat crashed into a seawall in the early morning hours in southern Broward County.  That boat was heading south on the Intracoastal Waterway when the accident occurred.

A total of 742 boating accidents were reported in Florida in 2011, a significant increase over the 668 incidents reported in 2010.  Clearly, south Florida continues to see far too many serious injuries and deaths occurring in surrounding waters.   Simply due to the number of boaters in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami area, a large number of accidents occur in these areas.  Monroe County (the Florida Keys) reported the most boating incidents in 2011, followed by Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward County.  During the entire year of 2011 in south Florida, 11 people died in boating incidents and 91 others were injured.

Most of these accidents are due to driver error, and driver and passengers failing to observe simple boating safety rules.  Authorities say far too many of those injured or killed were not wearing life jackets at the time their accidents occurred.       Nobody anticipates an accident happening, and when it occurs, it is too late to take safety precautions such as wearing a life jacket.

Any individual seriously injured in a south Florida, Fort Lauderdale or Miami boating accident should seek immediate legal advice about filing a claim since critical evidence must be investigated and preserved so that injured parties can prevail in court.  Boating accident claims can be governed by several different laws including Florida law and/or maritime laws, and present a number of pitfalls for an attorney not experienced in these areas.

If you’ve suffered any type of boating accident or injury in South Florida, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or the Florida Keys, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph M. Maus to learn more about your legal rights.  You can schedule your free initial consultation by calling Toll Free today: (855) 999-LAWS.



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