Florida Drawbridge Crushes Pontoon Boat as Boaters Escape

Injury Narrowly Avoided in Accident Near Intercoastal Waterway

Multiple agencies are reporting a near-catastrophic boating accident that occurred under a bridge in Jupiter, Florida. A pontoon boat filled with people was crushed as a drawbridge began to lift. While it is unclear why the vessel was under the machinery, it is an important reminder to stay safe while boating.

Thousands of recreational boating accidents happen every year in Florida. Unsuspecting boaters often find themselves in potentially deadly situations during what is supposed to be a fun day on the water. At Mase Mebane Seitz, we know just how quickly boating accidents happen and the devastating injuries they can cause. 

If you are injured in a boating accident, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation.  

Drawbridge Accident in Jupiter, Florida

As reported by ABC 7, boaters narrowly escaped injury when a Jupiter drawbridge crushed their pontoon. The accident occurred close to the Intercoastal Waterway beneath the Cato Bridge. A video showing the carnage is now making its way across social media.

Luckily, all of the people aboard escaped unscathed. The bridge had started to lift while the boat was underneath. While it is unclear why the boat was stopped below the bridge, the video shows that it may have been raining at the time. The boat was resting against the mechanism that lifts and lowers the drawbridge.

Reports indicate that the bridgetender was unaware that a boat was tied up underneath the bridge. Although not seen on camera, it appears that in addition to the boaters, there were at least two dogs aboard the vessel. A woman filming the incident can be heard asking where the other dog went multiple times. 

Boating Safety Tips

This recreational boating accident serves as an important reminder of how hazardous the water can be when safety protocols are not followed. 

According to ABC 7, the boaters would have passed several signs, including “Unauthorized Personnel Prohibited” and “Danger Moving Machinery.” For unknown reasons, the operator of the pontoon boat chose this section of the bridge to go under instead of passing under the main channel.

When boating, it is vital to follow all posted warnings. You should be aware of your surroundings and never tie off your vessel to an unfamiliar area. Boat operators should not only be experienced before going on the water, but they should also consider taking a boating safety course.

Boating Safety Training

There are several boating safety courses available online and in person. Courses are designed to meet your needs, whether you just want to operate a boat occasionally or own a vessel for regular use. 

Topics covered in boating safety training include:

  • Anchoring and docking
  • Navigation rules
  • Safety protocols and equipment
  • Situational awareness
  • Boating emergencies and more

The more prepared you are before you get on the water, the less likely you are to get into a dangerous situation. 

Contact Our Office to Learn More

Were you recently involved in a boating accident? Contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Discuss your legal options with an experienced lawyer at no cost. Let us help you understand your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries. Call now to get started.