Florida Boat Accident Lawyer Near You

Florida has over 1,350 miles of beautiful coastline and 11,000 miles of rivers, tributaries and other waterways ideally suited for boating, sailing, Jet Ski riding, and various recreational activities. However, accompanying these abundant natural resources is the sobering reality of Florida having the highest number of deaths resulting from boating accidents in the United States during the past five years.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that from 2003 to 2007, there were 3,364 boating accidents in Florida that claimed the lives of 351 people. Of those accidents in 2007 which resulted in a fatality, 75% involved operators who had never taken a boating safety course. The law firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over 100 years of combined legal experience working exclusively in personal injury law and a reputation for providing detailed case analysis and aggressive representation on behalf of our clients in the pursuit of justice.

Under Florida law the operator of a boat and its owner must exercise the highest degree of caution in order to prevent injuries to passengers in the boat, swimmers in the water, or any surrounding vessels.

What are Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Florida?

florida boating accident lawyersAccording to a recent report from the U.S. Coast Guard, boating accidents in the United States resulted in 3,000 injuries and 651 deaths in 2012 alone.

The types of boating accidents that occur most frequently in Florida are collisions with other vessels or fixed objects, skier mishaps, falling overboard, and capsizing. Operator inexperience is one of the leading causes of boating accidents in the United States and was the primary contributing factor to 51 boating fatalities in 2012.

The leading causes of boating accidents are:

  • Operator inattention
  • Careless/Reckless operation
  • Passenger/skier behavior
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol Use
  • No proper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Weather
  • Equipment failure

What To Do After a Florida Boat Accident

The legal rights applicable to your claim will vary depending upon certain factors such as your categorical relationship to the vessel (as a social guest, employee, bystander, etc.) as well as the literal events surrounding the incident that could have feasibly had an impact on the outcome.

It is crucial to receive legal advice that can guide you seamlessly through the complexity of maritime law to ensure that the maximum amount of damages available for your case will be retrieved.

Our Tampa boat accident lawyers have represented tens of thousands of people injured as a result of someone else’s negligence on boats, jet skis, charter vessels, or other watercraft.

Florida Boating Accident Case Settlement Examples

$3,500,000 / Maritime / Wrongful Death in Hillsborough County

$875,000 / Maritime Law / Neck, Back, Left Leg / Monroe County, FL
48-year-old male was injured when he slipped and fell while walking on a vessel. The fall caused him to have pain in his lower back and neck as well as a loss of feeling in his left leg.

$780,000 / Maritime / Boating Accident / Pinellas County
Client slipped and fell on the gangway leading to a boat.

Safety Tips for Florida Boaters

If you’re going to operate a boat on the open water, you have a duty to your passengers and other boaters to know what you are doing. Familiarize yourself with the local boating regulations and consider getting certified in proper boating procedures. When in doubt, avoid getting in over your head by avoiding boating in areas that may be potentially difficult to navigate.


Wear a Life Jacket

While wearing a life jacket is one of the easiest ways to avoid tragedy on the water in the event of a Florida boat accident, all too many people make the mistake of overlooking these safety devices until it’s too late.

The Coast Guard reports that 85 percent of the victims killed in boating accidents due to drowning were not wearing a life jacket when their lives were lost. Only 20% of the children under 13 years of age who died in boating accidents due to drowning were wearing a life jacket when the tragedy took place.

Jet Ski Accident Attorney Near You

While operating a jet ski can be a great way to enjoy some fun on the open water in our area, it only takes one mistake to cause a Tampa jet ski accident that results in innocent people getting seriously hurt.

Observing the jet ski safety tips below can help you operate these vessels safely in our area.

Understand and Obey Applicable Boating Regulations

To begin with, it is important to understand that jet skis, or personal watercraft, are considered boats in our waterways. As such, operators must comply with all applicable boating regulations while they are on open water, ranging from observing all posted marking and signs to appropriately heeding the right of way to other vessels.

Younger Operators May Need a Boating Safety Education ID Card

The state of Florida requires individuals who are aged 21 and under to have a boating safety education ID card in order to operate a boat with 10 horsepower or more. Individuals who are aged 14 and under are not permitted to operate a jet ski.

Operators between the ages of 15 and 21 need to have both their boating safety education ID card as well as a photo ID on their person while they are operating a vessel. Florida residents can obtain certification by passing an online course accepted by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Exercise Caution when Renting a Jet Ski

Learning the basics of operating a jet ski is so simple that many first time rental operators have little difficulty in getting out on their own and enjoying a great time on the water. Unfortunately, this ease of use causes some operators to quickly become overconfident and put themselves in harm’s way.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly a quarter of all jet ski accidents involve rental operators. The NTSB also found that about a third of all operators involved in jet ski accidents had operated jet ski less than 10 times before the incident took place.

Other Jet Ski Safety Tips

Some other good safety practices to follow when operating a jet ski include:

  • Wear an approved personal flotation device
  • Do not operate a jet ski under the influence of alcohol
  • Avoid distractions from other vessels or people on the shore
  • Fuel up before heading for open water
  • Be sure you have enough fuel to return safely
  • Be aware of your limitations and ere on the side of a caution while operating the vessel

Contact a Florida Boating Accident Attorney Near You


If you have been injured in a boating accident in Florida, please contact the lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk at 1-866-902-9844. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means there are no fees or costs unless we win.

Call us 24/7 at 800-538-4878 to get your FREE case review.

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Florida Injury Case Types