Clearwater Boating Accidents and Wave runner accidents
If you have been in a Boating or wave runner accident please call Mark Perenich 727-386-9677 or fill out the form on the contact page.
Often when we think of motor vehicle accidents we visualize cars or motorcycles, but living in Florida where we are surrounded by many beautiful bodies of water that the weather allows us to enjoy year around, we have to consider the dangers of other motor vehicles such as boats and wave runners. Florida leads the country in the number of boating accidents. In 2012 accidents numbered 662, among those 50 fatalities, and slightly more in 2011 where numbers totaled at 742 accidents and 67 fatalities. This unfortunately comes as no surprise as Florida also has the most registered vessels in the country, around 1 million total. Even though Florida law requires that persons born after January 1988 must complete a boaters education course before operating a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or more, we still have high volumes of watercraft accidents caused by misuse and carelessness.
Alcohol is a major causation factor in these types of accidents. Whether it be partying out on the water or just relaxing and having a few drinks while taking a ride, intoxication is a problem for boat and wave runner operators. Just last year a man from Indian Rocks Beach died from an alcohol related accident when a wave runner struck a channel marker at a high speed in the Intercostal Waterway. He was a passenger on a watercraft, therefore the driver was charged with boating under the influence as well as manslaughter and vessel homicide. Sandbar party spots have also become a growing concern especially here in Pinellas County. Anchoring boats at sandbars and having parties for occasions such as fourth of July or Labor Day has increased the number of people driving their watercrafts back to shore while under the influence.
Unfortunately another cause of injuries and fatalities in such accidents is the absence of life jackets. By Florida law, passengers on a boat are not required to wear a life jacket unless they are under the age of six, but the vessel must be equipped with enough life jackets for all of the passengers on board. However, those riding a personal watercraft or being towed behind a boat or wave runner must be wearing a life jacket at all times. In January 2012 a man was killed and a woman was injured in a wave runner accident where neither had on life jackets when they crashed into another wave runner while riding at night.
Though boat and wave runner accidents are common in this area, they are most certainly avoidable. Taking necessary precautions and avoiding careless behavior, along with following Florida state laws and guidelines are all ways to help keep our waterways safe and enjoyable for everyone that is taking advantage of the beautiful climate we live in.