Tampa Boat & Jet Ski Accident Lawyer
Having surpassed the one million mark in registered vessels, Florida is widely regarded as the Boating Capital of the World. Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are among the top five counties for vessel registrations in the state, with endless opportunities for fishing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, and “partying on the water” on charter boats, party boats, pontoon boats and motorboats from the Hillsborough and Manatee rivers to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Boating in Tampa is by and large a recreational activity, and with fun and frolic comes the possibility of a bad outcome in the form of a boating accident. According to the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics, Florida saw 723 boating accidents and 61 deaths in 2021, far and away more than any other state in the nation. When boating accidents happen, it’s because somebody was careless, reckless or negligent. That somebody may have been the operator of the boat, a passenger, someone in the water, a company that rented out the boat or personal watercraft, or even the vessel manufacturer. Figuring out who was to blame and holding them accountable to the people they’ve harmed is the job of the personal injury attorneys at Florin Gray. With knowledge, skill and dedication, we’ve achieved numerous successful verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. If you or a loved one has been hurt on the water in the Tampa Bay area, call our experienced Tampa boat & jet ski accident lawyers today.
Common Causes of Boating and Jet Ski Accidents in Tampa
According to sources including the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), operator inexperience and lack of training are leading factors related to fatal boating accidents in Florida. In 2021, boat operators had not received boating safety instruction in 75% of fatal boating accidents. In contrast, only 16% of fatalities occurred on vessels where the operator held a nationally approved boating safety education certificate. Alcohol intoxication is also known to be a leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
Florida boating accident statistics from the FWCC list the following top ten reasons for boating accidents in the state:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
- Excessive speed
- Alcohol use
- Force of wave/wake
- Navigation rules violation
- Hazardous waters
Almost half of all boating accidents occurred on open motorboats, and nearly 20% involved personal watercraft (PWC) such as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, and WaveRunners. In all or nearly all of these instances, any injury or death could have been prevented had the person responsible for the accident exercised greater care.
The Tampa boating and jet ski accident attorneys at Florin Gray work together to provide the best representation for our clients. Our lawyers have diverse backgrounds and skills that come together to ensure you are properly represented whether your case calls for a negotiated settlement or trial victory. We help people injured in boating and jet ski accidents in Tampa and also represent families who lost a loved one in a fatal accident caused by another’s negligence. Our comprehensive boating and jet ski accident practice covers all of the following types of accidents, among others:
- Collisions with other vessels
- Collisions with fixed objects
- Flooding or swamping
- Skier or wakeboarder mishap
- Overloaded/improperly loaded vessel
- Boat or equipment failure
- Falls overboard or ejections
Why Do so Many Boating Accidents Happen in Florida?
With more vessel registrations in Florida than in any other state, you would expect more accidents to happen here, simply due to the law of averages. But that’s not the only reason boat crashes happen here. Despite having the most robust boating industry in the nation, Florida is particularly lax when it comes to requiring boat operators to show any proficiency or skill in handling a boat before getting behind the wheel. No Florida boating license is required or even offered, and anyone born before 1988 can operate a boat in Florida without any kind of training. People born in 1988 or after must obtain a boating Safety Education Identification Card from the FWCC by completing an approved boating safety course before they can operate a craft with ten or more horsepower. However, approved courses are offered online and don’t require any actual boating training. Florida law also includes exemptions that allow persons as young as 14 to operate a boat even without an ID card if an older adult or cardholder is present.
With little to no regulation from the state, it’s up to boat operators and passengers themselves to behave responsibly and drive and ride safely on the water. When they don’t, dangerous accidents can happen, and people can get seriously hurt. Florin Gray helps innocent boating and jet ski accident victims get compensation for their medical care, pain and suffering and other damages from the people responsible for the crash. Even if you are considered partly at fault due to your own misconduct, you could still recover compensation from another negligent party; Florin Gray can help get you there.
Don’t Delay, Call Florin Gray
If you have been hurt in a boating or jet ski accident in Tampa, or if you lost a family member in a fatal boat crash caused by another’s negligence, let Florin Gray help you get the justice and compensation you need to move forward and hold the responsible party or parties accountable. Call our experienced Tampa boat & jet ski accident lawyers today.