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Boating Accidents

Florida is the busiest state for recreational boating in the nation, and it makes up a large percentage of Florida’s tourist industry. Every day there are a large number of boats and watercraft on Florida’s waterways. While this water activity offers hours of enjoyment, it also means the state has the most boating accidents in the country.

Were you or a loved one injured in a Florida boat crash?

If so, specific laws apply to boat accidents—and it is essential you contact an experienced Florida boating accident attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible.

Because boating is such a large part of Florida’s recreational and tourist industry, more regulations mean more frustration for consumers. Not to mention the age requirement for boating in Florida is 14, and operators older than 30 are not required to have boating licenses or even to undergo boating safety courses. This means that many Florida boaters are not licensed or trained in boating safety, which can make a boating crash even more severe.


What many Florida residents—and even some personal injury attorneys—do not know is that any accident that occurs on a public waterway falls under federal admiralty jurisdiction. This means that the case can, and sometimes must, be brought in Florida’s federal courts, which have different judicial procedures. A separate set of laws applies to injuries sustained as the result of boat or cruise accidents, and your Florida personal injury attorney must know which standards to use when petitioning the court for compensation. For example, you may need to make a claim using the admiralty standards for negligence, not car accident standards.


After a serious boating accident, injured victims need someone on their side that they can rely on to help them pursue justice and compensation. At Demesmin and Dover, our Florida boating accident lawyers can help.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 402 boating accidents in 2020 alone involved collisions and 44% of them were due to the operator’s inattention.

The Primary types of Florida boating accidents include, in order of volume: 

  • Collisions with other vessels 
  • Collisions with fixed objects 
  • Flooding
  • Falls overboard
  • Grounding
  • Fuel Fires or Explosions
  • Falls on the boat 
  • Capsizing
  • Striking underwater objects
  • Wake damage
  • Sinking

Florida has a plethora of different waterways therefore the rules there differ as well. It is important to know what different types of waterways are around here so that you know what rules apply. 

The rules and speeds for boating on these waterways differ, but most accidents occur on the following, from most to least common:

  • Bays and Sounds
  • Ocean and Gulf
  • Rivers and Creeks
  • Canals and cuts
  • Inlets and passes
  • Lakes and ponds
  • Ports and Harbors
  • Marshes and Swamps

Therefore, the most likely Florida boat accident is a collision between two boats on Florida’s bays and sounds. In addition, the majority of accidents occur during recreational cruising or fishing, because boat operators are not paying attention. This is just one of the consequences of permitting inexperienced boat operators to cruise down Florida’s waterways.

Unfortunately, a large number of Florida boating accidents occur when someone operating a boat has had entirely too much to drink. Known as BUI (Boating Under the Influence), this occurs when someone has had too much to drink and can no longer operate their boat in a safe manner. Someone can be found guilty of BUI if they operate a vessel while being so intoxicated that their normal faculties are impaired by the alcohol or drugs, or if they have a blood alcohol limit of .08% or more.

If you were a victim of a boating accident than you may want to contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in boating accidents. We here at Demesmin and Dover law firm will help you gain the compensation you deserve for others negligence on the water. 

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