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Boat and Watercraft Accidents

Posted on September 20, 2021

With more than 8,000 miles of coastline[1], it’s no surprise that Florida has a water-focused culture. We love watersports, boat parties, sailing, and anything that keeps us having fun on the water. In fact, Florida has the most boats of anywhere in the United States, with 985,005 registered water vessels[2]. Unfortunately, this focus on the water also has a dark side: boating accidents.

Prevalence of Boating Accidents

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently released its latest statistics on boating accidents in Florida in 2020. Of note:

  • There were 836 reportable boating accidents.
  • These accidents resulted in a total of 534 injured people and 79 fatalities.
  • 27 percent of the accidents were caused by collisions.
  • Alcohol or drug use played a role in 23 percent of the reported fatalities.
  • Drowning caused 53 percent of fatalities.
  • In 69 percent of accidents, the boat operator had no formal boating education.

Causes of Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can have a myriad of causes. These can include:

  • Operator drug or alcohol impairment
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Crowded waterways
  • Unsafe weather or water conditions
  • Lack of life jackets or defective life jackets
  • Mechanical malfunction

What To Do If You are Involved in a Boating Accident

Call 911.

As with any emergency situation, the first step is to call 911. Ask them to send help and alert the Coast Guard. The authorities will investigate the accident and write an accident report.

Seek Medical Attention.

It’s scary and disorienting to be involved in a boating accident. Since your body may be in fight-or-flight mode, it’s possible that you are injured and don’t even realize it. Seek medical attention as soon as you can. This is essential for your healing process and will be instrumental if you decide to file a personal injury suit against the boat operator or their insurance company.

Document The Scene

If possible, take photos and videos of the accident scene. In a boating accident, key evidence can sink, be lost at sea, or be destroyed by salt water. Your photos may be the only evidence of some details of the accident.

A boat operator has a duty of care to its passengers and everyone else on the water. If they breach that duty and you are injured as a result, you are entitled to receive compensation. If you or a loved one was a victim of a boat or watercraft accident, contact ECanter Lawyers today. We will aggressively pursue the boat operator’s insurance company to ensure that they pay you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

ECanter Lawyers

When you are dealing with the chaos and pain of accidents and personal injuries, the last thing you need is technical, confusing legal language.  ECanter Lawyers breaks down the complexities and provides clear, informative answers so that you understand your legal options. 

For over two decades, ECanter Lawyers has remained committed to honest, straightforward answers.  Named one of AVVO’s Clients’ Choice, ECanter Lawyers has helped clients receive multi-million-dollar verdicts, and millions of dollars in settlements.  ECanter Lawyers specializes in personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, premises and product liability, and healthcare law.

With offices conveniently located throughout South Florida and 24/7 services, ECanter Lawyers personal injury law firm offers you the personalized attention that you need in order to maximize your compensation. 

ECanter Lawyers

561-447-4500

Boca Raton | West Palm Beach | Coral Springs | Ft. Lauderdale | Miami


[1] NOAA Office for Coastal Management. https://coast.noaa.gov/data/docs/states/shorelines.pdf. Accessed August 7, 2021.

[2] Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement. https://myfwc.com/media/26468/2020-basr-intro.pdf. Accessed August 7, 2021.

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