Miami has a high number of boating accidents reported every year. A report released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement recorded 836 accidents in 2020, the highest since 2011. Miami was one of the cities with the highest death rates. Mishaps, whether on the road, air or water, happen without warning, and it is advisable to take proper precautions in advance in case that happens. One of the best ways of doing that is hiring a Miami Boating Accident Lawyer who knows the complexities involved in such cases, has the required expertise in maritime law, and ensures that you receive adequate compensation. What are the different reasons for accidents in Miami, and how can a boat attorney help you out? Read on to know.
Causes of Boating Accidents
Inexperienced drivers in Miami are one of the top reasons for boat accidents. You don’t need a license for a boat in Florida. All you have to do is complete an approved boating safety course and get a Boating Safety Education Identification Card. Riding a boat is different from driving a car and perhaps more complex too. The wheel turns whichever way you want in a vehicle, while the steering wheel in a ship moves in the opposite direction because of the hydraulic steering system.
Florida has speed limits in place to ensure safe boating both for you and others. There are several warning signs, each of which serves a distinct purpose. These are:
Idle speed, no wake
Slow speed, minimum wake
Slow speed, outside channel: maximum speed zone
Vessels excluded swim area
Despite those speed limits, FWC reported at least 46 accidents in Florida because of excessive speeding. Changing speed and course is considered a reckless operation since it endangers the life and property of some other person.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Consumption of alcohol is reported to be behind 23% of the boating facilities in Florida, including Miami. You can gauge the prevalence of operating a yacht under the influence of alcohol because the FWC has 483 citations related to it. There are strict rules in Florida regarding drinking and boat driving. Even though it is not considered illegal to drink on a boat, the person operating it should not have an alcohol level or BAC above 0.08.
Accidents in boats can also occur if you operate them in unsuitable weather conditions. The FWC reported about 53 boating accident cases because of riding in rough weather. Sailing your boat in Miami or Florida in harsh weather is dangerous because it experiences the highest lightning strikes in the country. Most of the lightning injuries happen on ships with no cabins. Avoid going out when thunderstorms have been predicted or there are dark clouds in the sky.
How Can a Boat Accident Attorney Help You?
Trying to claim compensation after a boating accident can be different from that involving an automobile. The reason is that two specific maritime laws govern Florida and, therefore, Miami. The first of these is Florida state boating law which covers accidents that occur within the state. The statute of limitations under this is four years. The second is the Federal Maritime Law or Admiralty Law applicable when the dispute arises in the Atlantic Ocean or water bodies shared by two states. The statute of limitation on these is three years. While that may appear relatively straightforward, the entire process could be similar to making your way out of a maze. However, having a professional deal with it will make the process much simpler. They will also help you prove the other person’s negligence, if any, and ensure you get adequate compensation. You can also trust them to deal with the insurance companies to give you a fair settlement.
Regardless of the type of accident, a Miami boating accident lawyer will help you in many ways. Maritime laws are much more complicated, and only professionals can deal with cases related to them.