One of the newest laws in effect in the state of Florida is Ethan’s Law, HB 701, named for a 10-year-old boy who died in a sailing accident in November 2020.
Ethan Isaacs was sailing when the instructor fell overboard, resulting in the boat taking off in an uncontrolled spin. Ethan was struck and killed in the incident.
Ethan’s family has since become very active in pushing for new boating safety regulations in the state. And now, Ethan’s Law is in effect.
The effects of the law are as follows:
- All boating instructors and coaches are required to wear an emergency kill switch when operating any motorized water vessel of 26 feet in length or smaller
- The kill switch can be connected with a lanyard, by a hardness or through a wireless device
The idea is that if a person falls out of the boat, the instructor can immediately flip the kill switch to make sure the boat stops and that an accident similar to Ethan’s would not occur. This practice has already been required by the U.S. Coast Guard for years, but this new legislation makes it required for all recreational boaters as well.
It is critical, then, for boat operators throughout the state of Florida to get into compliance with these requirements. There has been significant lead time for the law to go into effect.
If you have any questions about what you must do to get into compliance with this law or about the legal options you have should you or a loved one suffer injuries in a boating accident, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh.