South Florida has been one of the major locations for recreational boating for decades. There is some debate about who actually coined the phrase “Venice of America” for Fort Lauderdale, but with 165 miles of waterway, it certainly is appropriate.
Boating is a year-round passion in Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, with a combined 165,000 recreational vessels registered. When Spring Break rolls around, that’s usually one of the busiest times for traffic offshore and on the inland waterways. Not unexpectedly, accidents increase.
Broward and Monroe counties tied for having the most boating fatalities in 2015, with 5. The 2016 report is due out soon from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and it’s unclear at this time if there will be a significant change. Two things are certain: Boating safety courses reduce accidents, especially with young boaters, and alcohol is involved in many serious accidents.
Currently the State of Florida requires boating safety courses for boaters who have been cited for or convicted of certain violations, but we recommend instruction for all boaters. Also, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must pass an approved boater safety course and have in his/her possession photographic identification and a boater safety identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. We recommend that anyone who owns or operates a boat should click here to avail themselves of a list of State approved boating safety course providers.
Accidents that happen on the water are different in many respects than accidents on the road. In Florida, Chapters 327 and 328 of the Florida Statutes cover boating and contain vessel regulations and we encourage everyone to click here and become familiar with them.
We have devoted a significant portion of our law practice to boating laws, accidents, and safety. We are very experienced with the complex nature of boating laws and insurance regulations. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a boat in the State of Florida, we can sit down and discuss options. We can be reached at 954-356-0006.