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7 Steps to Take After a Florida Boating Accident

7 Steps to Take After a Florida Boating Accident

Boating is a popular leisurely activity in the state of Florida, and one that is taken seriously by residents and visitors alike. As the state with the most registered boats, Floridians and visitors have almost unlimited opportunities to enjoy boating activities. The number of registered vessels as of 2020 was 985,005 and that number continues to grow. The state has ample waterways that can support boating and combined with the warm and sunny tropical temperatures, it is difficult not to get out on the water at any time of the year. Florida has the warmest temperatures of any state in the continental United States.

Despite the state not having any requirements for securing a boating license before heading out onto the water, it is still necessary to have certain documents and identification with you when you operate a boat. The reason there are guidelines in place for Floridian boaters and visitors to follow is a matter of safety. Operating a boat is a serious endeavor and like a car, accidents happen. These incidents can have catastrophic and deadly results, specifically when occupants on a boat are not proficient swimmers.

In 2020, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 836 reportable boating accidents. If you were injured in a boating accident in Florida or if you lost a loved one from a deadly boating event, please connect with the Jacksonville boat accident injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates. The attorneys at Sheftall Law will aggressively pursue the most compensation on behalf of victims so they will be best positioned to recover from their trauma and continue on with life.

How Can You Legally Operate a Boat in Florida?

To legally operate a boat in Florida, you will have to do one of the following:

  • Take and successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators education course.
  • Pass an equivalent course to NASBLA.
  • Pass an equivalent temporary certification exam.

In addition to taking a course and passing it, a boat operator must have in their possession their boating education identification along with photo identification. This is so for vessels that are 10 horsepower and higher.

Visitors that have proof of completing an approved course can operate a vessel. Without such documentation, they will need to have a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card. But, temporary cards that last for 90 days can also be issued by state-approved vendors.

What To Do After a Boating Accident in Florida

7 Steps to Take After a Florida Boating AccidentThe following 7 steps are appropriate to take after a boating accident:

  1. Check yourself and others, if you can, for injuries. Make sure that everyone is accounted for. It is not uncommon for a boating accident to result in people falling off of boats, and struggling in the water. Also, people can get stuck under debris that may have resulted from a crash.
  2. If possible, provide first aid to injured parties.
  3. Report the boating accident if any of the following are true:
    • There was a death.
    • Serious injuries require advanced medical treatment beyond the capabilities of first aid.
    • The vessel sustains damages that are over $2000.
    • The vessel is completely destroyed.
  4. Check the condition of the boat. If the boat took on serious damage, it may be unsafe to remain on the boat.
  5. Check to see that there is the required safety equipment on the boat like life vests, for example.
  6. If it is practical to gather evidence do so. This means talking to witnesses and getting their information if they would be willing to provide a statement, taking photos, and writing down what happened so you do not forget it.
  7. Speak with the operator of the boat to determine if their actions were an issue that caused the crash.

Above all, it is important to ensure the safety of all passengers and get aid to those that need it. But it is also necessary to take into account what could have caused the accident and what factors were present at the crash scene. If you were injured, you may be able to file a Florida personal injury claim to obtain compensation for your damages. The more information you have the better. 

If you were injured, even if you used first aid assistance, you may still want to see a doctor. This is so because you may have sustained underlying injuries that were not identified while you were getting peripheral treatment on the boat. If left unchecked, undiagnosed, and untreated, these injuries could develop and become worse.

Where Do Boating Accidents Happen?

Boating accidents in Florida can happen in any body of water. But, not every waterway should be treated the same with respect to how to operate a boat. There are various rules and guidelines for each different body of water so understanding where you are operating a boat and what the ordinances are is key to staying within the law and to preserving safety.

Some of these waterways include:

  • Bays
  • The Gulf
  • Ocean
  • Inlets
  • Lakes
  • Ponds
  • Ports
  • Rivers
  • Creeks
  • Marshes
  • Swamps
  • Canals

Meet with a Jacksonville Boat Accident Attorney Today

Just like the many different waterways that exist in Florida, there are also many ways that boating accidents can happen. When negligence is a factor in your boating accident case, then considering filing a Florida personal injury claim can be beneficial for you to recover the losses you suffered in the accident. Alcohol consumption by a boat operator, speeding, or overloading the boat are all examples of negligent actions that if present, can lead to a boating accident.

The Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates are here for you when you need proficient, tactical, and strategic legal representation after a boating accident. The damages you may have sustained have the potential to be significant, obtaining the most compensation is crucial. To discuss your case with a qualified and experienced boating accident lawyer in Jacksonville, please do not hesitate to reach out and call the Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates today at (904) 638-7712.