As these incidents demonstrate, offshore racing is a dangerous sporting activity. But, normally experiences at least one death per year and last week’s shocking events was incredibly abnormal. Also according to The Miami Herald during Sunday’s finale a third Florida watercraft accident happened. Two powerboat racers from New Jersey sustained non-life threating injuries. Warpaint owner/driver Bob Vesper of Sommer Points and throttle man, Danny Crank of Hammonton, were in their 38-foot watercraft with 750-horsepower twin engines when they slammed into a wave. Vesper, was treated at the Lower Keys West Medical Center and Crank was evacuated to the Miami’s Jackson Memorial Center for treatment for a torn ear and a possible concussion he suffered during the crash.
The American Power Boat Association (APBA) is the sanctioning agency which has adopted policies for its members which are aimed at preventing or reducing the number of Florida power boating accidents during its events. Still, it is probable that given these recent sequences of fatal and personal injuries, there could be renewed concerns regarding excessive speeds, machinery and equipment failures, operator inattentiveness or weather conditions which are known to be contributing injury and death factors in boating collisions. Therefore, there are a numerous legal issues to consider in such occurrences which may give rise to various legal claims.
Furthermore, it is a requirement under federal and state law that Florida recreation accidents be reported to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner. One of the goals of these reporting obligations is to ensure that the country’s waterways remain safe. Although federal law permits each state to enact more stringent reporting mandates, under Title 33 of the United States Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R.), it is required that all boating accidents which take place upon the U.S. waterways be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard within 30 days of its occurrence. In Florida, whenever there is a casualty, accident, collision involving a vessel, or personal injury which requires immediate medical attention beyond first aid assistance, the operator of the vessel must make an undelayed report to any of the three following agencies: the Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred or, if applicable, the police chief of the municipality which the accident occurred. In the event the operator is incapable of providing a report, it is the duty of the owner, or a witness to the accident to provide a report to the appropriate authorities. Similarly under Florida law, each coroner has an official duty upon learning the death of a victim of a boating accident in their jurisdiction to immediately notify their nearest Department of Law Enforcement.
Nevertheless, according to the U.S. Coastal Guard’s National Boating Statistics, in 2010, Florida had a total of 608 boating accidents which were fatal, non-fatal, or with property damage over $2,000. Additionally, 69 people died and another 364 were injured during such calamities; ranking Florida as the number one state for boating injury and death mishaps. It is important to consult with a Florida boat accident attorney if you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident in our area. This area of law is very complex and there are potential legal claims under various legal theories, including negligence, wrongful death or strict/products liability that should be discussed with an attorney to protect a party’s legal rights.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Florida Interstate-75 Car Accidents Injure Dozens of Local Residents
Orlando Motorcycle Accidents Kill Five in Separate Sunday Crashes