Boat owners have to take precautionary measures and know how to handle a wide variety of situations to avoid a boat collision.
These include using a proper lookout, using radar if present, and following navigational regulations. Boats move quickly, stop slowly, and can meet unexpectedly, so it is important to understand your responsibilities and those of other boat owners.
Visit this page to learn about federal regulations for preventing collisions at sea.
Causes of Boating Collisions
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Florida leads the country with 935,742 registered vessels. Boating collisions were the leading type of boating accident, accounting for 43% of the total reportable boating accidents in the previous year.
Common causes of boating collisions include:
- No proper lookout
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Machinery failure
- Reckless operation of the vessel
- Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Many boating collisions can be prevented by following safety regulations, including the Navigation Rules listed by the United States Coast Guard for recreational boaters. As noted by the FWC, 80% of fatal boating accidents are caused by operators who have had no formal boater education.
Before leaving dry land, boat owners must know when to give way to each other. Depending on the situation and type of vessel, boats may either be the give-way vessel or the stand-on vessel. Give-way vessels must steer around while the stand-on vessel has the right of way. When meeting head-on, both boats are generally give-way vessels and should steer to the right. Generally, sailboats, rowboats, and canoes are less maneuverable and are considered stand-on vessels.
There are additional rules for overtaking, crossing, and meeting at angles that boaters should familiarize themselves with before hitting the water. Not knowing these rules or failing to follow them could result in a boating accident that leaves someone gravely injured.
Just like automobiles, boaters have to follow the “Rules of the Road” in order to avoid collisions. Failure to follow these rules can result in catastrophic injuries.
Read these rules for boating navigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and print them to keep on your boat.
Injuries Resulting from Boating Collisions
If you are injured in a boating collision in Miami, we can hold liable parties responsible for their wrongdoing. Whether it was due to negligence, operator inexperience, or the other vessel lacked a proper lookout, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Proving liability in a boating collision accident can be difficult. You need an attorney who knows the state and federal laws that protect boat accident victims and will ensure that you get the largest recovery available.
Injuries from vessels colliding with other vessels or fixed objects can be life-altering. Multiple parties may be responsible for your damages, including the operator of the boat, owner, manufacturer, a negligent passenger, crew member, or the rental company. If you have suffered serious injuries, contact our Miami boat collision accident lawyers today to discuss your legal options. We can assist you in filing a lawsuit and recovering damages.
Injuries that may result in compensation include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
Presumption of Fault in Boating Collision Accidents
It can be difficult to prove that another boat operator was negligent in a collision. To prove negligence, you have to show that the other boat operator violated the standard of care—that he or she failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner as a reasonable person would in a similar situation.
When a collision occurs, maritime law has a number of presumptions about who is at fault. When two ships collide, there is a presumption called the “Pennsylvania Rule.” Under the Pennsylvania Rule, when a boat operator is in violation of a navigation regulation at the time of a collision, he is presumed to be at fault. Similarly, under the “Oregon Rule,” a boat operator is presumed to be at fault if his vessel is moving and strikes a stationary vessel. Under the “Louisiana Rule,” a boat operator is presumed to be at fault if his moving vessel strikes a stationary object.
These presumptions can be very helpful for people injured as a result of boating collisions, and we are very familiar with using them to get justice for boat accident victims.
Hire a Miami Boating Collision Lawyer
If you are injured in a boat collision, you deserve an attorney who will not hesitate to take defendants and their insurance companies to trial. At Mase Seitz Briggs, we are trial attorneys that know what it takes to win cases. Our lawyers have represented thousands of victims, recovering tens of millions in settlements and verdicts.
We fight for you and your family to help get the justice you deserve. When your financial future depends on it, you need a Miami boating collision lawyer with experience you can trust. Contact our office at (844) 627-3529 or fill out our online contact form for a free, confidential case evaluation.Back to Boating Accidents