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The lawyers of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh have more than 100 years of combined Florida legal experience in personal injury, wrongful death and negligence cases. David Goldman, and Michael Babboni have each represented accident victims throughout Florida for over twenty …

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Boating Accidents Blog Post

Boating Accidents: Florida Law, and How to Respond

With its extensive coastline, boating is a beloved pastime in Florida. Unfortunately, the state is also home to some of the most boating accidents. To help navigate the aftermath of such incidents, consider this quick guide on Florida's boating laws and the steps to take if you've been in an accident.

What to Know about Florida Boating Laws:

The following is a summary of some of Florida's boating laws. Here's what you need to know about operating a boat in Florida.

  • Accident Reporting: If a boating accident results in death, injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, disappearance, or property damage exceeding $2,000, it must be reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) within a specific timeframe.
  • Reckless Operation: It is illegal to operate a vessel in a reckless or careless manner that endangers others or property.
  • Speed Limits: Speed limits vary based on the location and type of vessel. In general, vessels must operate at a speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions. Boat operators must obey posted speed limits.
  • Boat Safety Equipment: Vessels must carry required safety equipment, including visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, navigation lights, and more.
  • Boating Under the Influence (BUI): Florida has strict laws regarding boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Operating a vessel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is against the law.

What To Do When You're In a Boating Accident

If you're involved in a boating accident in Florida, it's important to follow these steps:

  • Ensure Safety: First, prioritize the safety of everyone involved. Check for injuries and provide assistance to those in need. If someone falls overboard, use appropriate rescue techniques and, if possible, throw a flotation device to help them stay afloat.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange contact information, vessel identification, and insurance details with the other parties involved in the accident. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and vessel registration numbers.
  • Preserve Evidence: Take photographs of the accident scene, damages to vessels, injuries, and any other relevant details. This evidence can be crucial for insurance claims and investigations.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor, seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and documentation of medical treatment is valuable for insurance and legal purposes.
  • Stay at the Scene: Unless medical emergencies require evacuation, remain at the scene until authorities arrive and complete their investigation.
  • File a Boating Accident Report: Submit a written boating accident report to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission if required. Include details such as the date, time, location, and circumstances of the accident.
  • Contact Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with the details and any documentation you have gathered.
  • Consult Legal Assistance: Depending on the circumstances, you may want to consult with an attorney experienced in maritime law to understand your rights and options, especially if injuries or significant damages are involved.

Remember that boating accidents can have serious legal and financial implications, so it's crucial to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and others involved.

Filing a Boating Accident Claim

If you're ready to file a boating accident claim, the attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh are here to help. Our team of committed, compassionate attorneys is just a phone call or click away. Contact us today.

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2822 University Parkway
Sarasota, Florida, 34243 USA