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5 Most Common Boating Accidents on the Intracoastal Waterway

February 19, 2024
Boat Accident

Leading Types of Boat Crashes on the ICW

The Intracoastal Waterway is a protected channel of navigable water that runs along the East Coast of the United States through to Texas. The Intracoastal Waterway has numerous ports throughout Florida. Unfortunately, these areas can be prone to a number of boating accidents. Most boating accidents are preventable. They are caused by a number of factors, including failing to appoint a lookout, speeding, and boating under the influence.

What Is the Intracoastal Waterway?

The Intracoastal Waterway is a protected waterway that extends from New Jersey to Texas. It covers over 3,000 miles of navigable waters including along the coast of Florida. The Intracoastal Waterway helps to allow smaller boats, such as recreational vessels, to travel along the coast. 

It, however, can get crowded at certain ports and can be difficult to navigate. If you are operating a boat along the Intracoastal Waterway, it is important to know where you are going and to have the experience necessary to avoid common dangers.

Top 5 Types of Boating Accidents on the ICW 

While almost any kind of boating accident is possible on the Intracoastal Waterway, some are more prevalent than others. The ICW is frequented by a large number of recreational boaters, particularly near busy ports such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Ensuring you understand proper boating safety can help keep you and others safe on the water. 

Collision with Other Vessels

One of the most common types of boating accidents on the ICW is a collision with other vessels. Collisions with other vessels are extraordinarily dangerous and may cause individuals to be thrown from the boat upon impact. Drowning is a leading cause of death in these boating accidents, particularly when the passenger or boat operator is not wearing a life jacket. 

Collision with a Fixed Object

Another leading type of boating accident on the Intracoastal Waterway is a collision with a fixed object. This happens frequently in areas of shallower water near the coastline or where there are buoys, bridges, and other stationary objects. If you strike a fixed object or are involved in any type of boating accident, it is important to report the incident to your insurance company. Insurance claims can help provide compensation for your accident-related losses. 

Running aground

With the Intracoastal Waterway running near the shoreline, it is not uncommon for boats to run aground. A boat may run aground for a number of reasons, including boater inexperience, operator impairment, or the failure to assign a proper lookout. 


One of the most treacherous types of boating accidents that occurs on the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida is capsizing. Capsizing occurs when a boat is overturned in the water. Capsizing accidents may be the result of negligence and should be thoroughly investigated to determine liability. 

Passengers Falling Overboard

Tragically, passengers falling overboard is a leading type of boating accident. Passengers can be thrown from a vessel if it is traveling at a high rate of speed or when it comes in contact with another boat or fixed object. Passengers who are injured when they are thrown overboard may be able to file a third-party claim against the party that caused them harm.

What to Do If You Are Involved in a Boating Accident

The first thing you should do if you are involved in a boating accident on the Intracoastal Waterway is to report the incident to law enforcement. The officer can send for emergency medical personnel if someone has been injured as a result of the incident. When you are able it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney. An attorney can conduct an independent investigation into the cause of the collision.

Another important step to take if you are involved in a boating accident is seeking and continuing medical treatment. Any delay in treatment may negatively impact your case. Even minor injuries should be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure they will not be made worse over time without treatment. 

The Importance of the Right Legal Representation

Finding the right legal representation after a boating accident on the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida can be challenging, but it is important. You need experienced attorneys who will work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after an accident. You need a legal team with proven results that knows the law and will not give up.  

At Mase Seitz Briggs, our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in handling even the most difficult cases. We are trial lawyers who will not hesitate to litigate your case. Our firm is dedicated to getting results for our clients, so you won’t have to settle for less than your case is worth. Contact our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation. There are no fees unless we win. Let us help you find the legal solutions you need now. 

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