Miami Boat Accident Statistics

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Boating is a popular recreational activity that attracts enthusiasts and tourists to the vibrant city of Miami, while also being enjoyed by locals. Often referred to as the “Boating Capital of the World,” Miami is renowned for its stunning coastal landscapes, warm weather, and extensive network of waterways, offering an ideal setting for boating adventures.

However, along with the joys of boating come the risks of accidents on the water. According to the most recent United States Coast Guard report, Florida has the highest number of boating accidents in all 50 states, with 712 accidents in 2022. This included 65 fatal incidents accounting for 66 deaths that year.

Miami is a hub for maritime activity, making it essential to analyze boat accident statistics specific to this region to learn the challenges and risks boaters in Miami face.

Recent Boating Accident Statistics in Miami

Being a southern port city, Miami has a history of recreational boating that has increased along with the city’s popularity. According to the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission’s 2022 Boating Fatality Report, the state had 63 boating deaths in 2021.

Most of these deaths happened in May and June, with 22 deaths, and another 8 occurring in August. 16 boating deaths in the state happened between 4 p.m. and 5:59 p.m., indicating the early evening is a dangerous time to operate a vessel. Most deaths occurred due to falling overboard, with 64% due to drowning.

The 2022 FDWF Boating Injuries Report indicated a 45% injury rate in 2022 in Florida, with 457 injuries. These included 109 lacerations, 90 contusions, 75 broken bones, and 47 head injuries. 53% of those who suffered injuries were not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) when the accident occurred.

Most Common Reasons for Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can occur for many reasons, some preventable with proper education, responsible behavior, and adherence to safety regulations. If you are injured in a boating accident due to another boater’s negligence, you can work with a boating accident attorney from Aigen Injury Law to explore your legal options for compensation.

  • Operator inexperience or negligence: Operating a boat requires knowledge of navigation rules, understanding waterway signs, and awareness of potential hazards. Inexperienced operators may struggle to handle unexpected situations, misjudge distances, or fail to follow safe boating practices, increasing the risk of collisions or other accidents.
  • Speeding and reckless navigation: High speeds can reduce a boat’s maneuverability, making it difficult to avoid collisions or hazards. Additionally, reckless behaviors such as sharp turns, wake jumping, or weaving through congested areas can endanger other boaters and increase the likelihood of accidents.
  • Impaired boating: Operating a boat under the influence is illegal in Florida. This includes having a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher or being under the influence of any controlled substance that affects judgment or motor control. Boating when impaired leads to poor judgment, reduced reaction times, and compromised motor skills that can cause collisions, falls overboard, or other dangerous incidents.
  • Equipment failure and maintenance issues: Faulty steering, engine failures, or malfunctioning navigational equipment can cause a loss of control and lead to collisions or other mishaps. Regular maintenance, proper inspections, and ensuring all equipment is in good working order are essential for preventing boating accidents.
  • Weather conditions and visibility problems: Adverse weather conditions such as strong winds, storms, or rough seas can increase the risk of accidents. Reduced visibility due to fog, rain, or darkness can also contribute to collisions or grounding. Monitoring weather forecasts, having appropriate safety equipment on board, and exercising caution when conditions deteriorate are crucial for boating safely.

What to Do if You’ve Involved in a Boating Accident

If you are hurt in a boating accident, you can take certain steps to protect your rights and ensure you and your passengers receive appropriate medical care. Do the following in the aftermath of a boating incident to get help and gather evidence for a potential claim:

  • Ensure personal safety: Check yourself and others for injuries and administer first aid if necessary. If there are life-threatening injuries, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.

You should seek medical care for all boating accidents, even if you don’t feel injured. This not only ensures you receive a full exam and appropriate care but also provides a record of your injuries for a boating accident claim.

  • Gather information: Collect information about the accident, including the date, time, and location and names, addresses, and contact information of all parties involved. Also, get the boat registration numbers and descriptions of the vessels involved and insurance information of other boat operators.
  • Notify authorities: Report the accident to the appropriate authorities. In Florida, you must report a boating accident if it involves any of the following:
  • Injury requiring medical care beyond first aid
  • Disappearance of a person from the boat under circumstances that indicate injury or death
  • Property damage exceeding $2,000
  • Complete loss of the vessel

These reporting requirements align with the USCG rules. However, you must also report the accident to the USCG within 48 hours if a person dies or requires more medical treatment than basic first aid. If earlier reporting isn’t required, you must notify the USCG within 10 days.

  • Preserve evidence: If possible, take photos or videos of the accident scene, including damage to the vessels involved. Capture any signage, injuries, or environmental factors, such as weather or submerged objects that may have contributed to the accident. This evidence can be helpful during the investigation and insurance claims process.
  • Hiring an attorney: Seek legal representation after a boating accident in Florida to guide you through the claims process. An experienced attorney with Aigen Injury Law can provide guidance, protect your rights, and help you file for compensation with a negligent boater’s insurance company. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and negotiate to help you receive fair compensation for your losses.

Hire a Lawyer You can Trust

Boating accidents in Miami and other regions can have devastating consequences, resulting in injuries, property damage, and legal complexities. Understanding the causes and risks associated with these accidents is essential for promoting boating safety and ensuring responsible behavior on the water.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a boating accident in Miami, contact Aigen Injury Law. We can provide legal advice, navigate complex insurance claims, and pursue legal action on your behalf if necessary.