With its numerous lakes and inlets, Florida is a hotspot for boating activities and unfortunately, for boating accidents as well. In fact, the US Coast Guard’s latest report reveals that Florida has highest numbers of fatal accidents, fatalities, and total accidents on waterways in the US.
A recent waterway accident was reported by Local 10 News. Fire rescue officials said the boat, which carried five adults and three children, hit a jetty near Hillsboro Inlet Park in Pompano Beach. Four of the adults sustained injuries, with one of them listed in critical condition. A 14-year-old child was also hurt and had to be transported by air rescue to a Broward hospital.
Investigation on the accident is still ongoing, but authorities said the boat operator may have made misjudgments as they entered the inlet. A witness also said that the boat was going at normal speed but was on the wrong side of the inlet’s red buoys.
Sea Tow Broward County Capt. Tim Morgan described the waterway as “just a bad inlet”, with its shallow, narrow pathway surrounded by rock jetty and coral reef. However, he added that while the inlet is a challenge to navigate, it is safe and well-marked. Boaters only have to stay within the markers and understand what they mean.
Boating and similar recreational activities on the water indeed require careful attention and experience. But many boating parties still go on without these. According to the Coast Guard’s report, some of the top contributing factors in water accidents are operator inattention, improper lookout, and operator inexperience.
These very factors are also among the top five primary causes of boating accidents in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also found that in fatal boating accidents in the state, 63% of the operators had no formal boater education. Morgan agrees that “uneducated and uninitiated boaters” are a main culprit in accidents in Hillsboro Inlet.
If a boat operator lacks education or experience yet still runs a watercraft, he/she puts people’s lives at risk and may be considered negligent. Other forms of negligence include boating while drunk, ignoring water signs, and boating without proper safety equipment. In accidents involving a negligent boater, those who have been injured may investigate filing a compensation claim or an injury lawsuit with the help of an attorney who is familiar with boating accidents.