New Florida “Ethan’s Law” Aims to Prevent Boating Deaths

Legislation Would Require Engine Safety Cutoff Device on Motorboats Under 26 Feet

Florida State Representative Fiona McFarland is introducing legislation that would require operators of motorboats under 26’ to wear an engine safety cutoff device. The law, named for a young boy who was killed in a boating accident, would go into effect this summer if passed.

At Mase Mebane, our experienced trial lawyers focus on those who have been seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. We have recovered millions on behalf of injury victims in Miami and South Florida. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident, contact our office for a free consultation

Tragedy on the Water

10-year-old Ethan Isaacs was tragically killed last year when he was hit by his instructor’s unmanned motorboat during sailing practice, according to WFLA Channel 8 News. The instructor fell overboard after losing his footing. The unmanned boat then struck Ethan, causing fatal injuries. The boating accident occurred on the Ringling Causeway last November. 

Ethan Isaacs was a gifted Sarasota sixth-grader participating in a youth sailing program when the accident occurred. Two other young sailors involved in the program were also injured. Ethan’s parents hope that legislation requiring operators to wear an automatic shutoff device will prevent future tragedies. Rep. McFarland has been working with the young boy’s parents to draft legislation that would mirror what several other states already have in place. 

“Ethan’s Law”

“Ethan’s Law,” if passed, would require operators of motorboats under 26 feet to wear a lanyard that would automatically kill the engine if they were to get thrown overboard. Senator Joe Gruters is introducing companion legislation in the Florida Senate, and the U.S. Coast Guard is adopting a similar rule this year. If successful in the Florida House and Senate, the widely supported legislation would take effect this summer.

Seven other states have laws requiring boat operators to wear engine safety cutoff devices like the one described in “Ethan’s Law.” Multiple groups are behind the legislation, including local law enforcement, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, boating manufacturers, and boat owners associations. 

Making Florida Waterways Safer

Thousands of boating accidents injure or kill people each year. It is hoped that further safety requirements will prevent these accidents saving countless lives. According to ABC 7, there have been 95 reports of boating accidents involving an operator who fell overboard. Of those, 79 resulted in a person being injured or killed.

Contact Mase Mebane for a Free Consultation

Boating safety is key to preventing injuries and deaths on Florida waterways. If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a boating accident, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. The experienced trial lawyers at Mase Mebane are committed to helping injury victims and their families obtain the compensation they deserve.

Call our legal team at (844) 627-3529 to discuss your case. All consultations are free and without obligation to retain our services. Contact our office today to get started.