On Saturday afternoon, March 30, 2013, Gulf Breeze residents could witness another fatal boating accident that occurred about 1,000 yards south of Shoreline Park. The vessel involved was a 39-foot Velocity go-fast boat, owned and operated by Gary Lowry, 61, of Pensacola. According to witnesses, the vessel was traveling at high speed, about 70 mph when it hit a wave, flipped and cracked.
Gary Lowry died at the scene of the accident, while other 4 passengers were taken to the hospital, including his son and daughter in law. While passengers are expected to survive, the authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident. Investigations are slowed by the fact that half of the vessel including its engine is underwater while the other half is shattered into pieces. The condition of the wreckage also suggests that high speed was among the causes of the tragedy.
What Do Statistics Say about Florida Boating Accidents?
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2010, there were 79 fatal boating accidents in Florida, a number that puts Florida in the first place in U.S. statistics. By 2011 the number of lives lost due to recreational boating accidents dropped to 67. A vast majority of these accidents occurred during cruising. 49 of these accidents involved vessels fueled with gasoline and with a fiberglass hull, while 33 accidents involved open motorboats.
The victims' primary cause of death was drowning in 63% of the cases and trauma in 19% of the cases. Most of the vessel operators were males age 51+, while 70% of the operators involved in fatal accidents had no boater education. Surprisingly enough alcohol or drug abuse was responsible for only 15% of the accidents. Besides alcohol abuse, other common causes of fatal boating accidents include:
- Machinery failure
- Operator inattention
- Occupant behavior
- Weather conditions
- No proper lookout
- Operator inexperience
Involved in Florida Boating Accident? Contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary!
Boating accidents, even if they do not result in fatalities or severe personal injuries can still be a terrifying experience, not to mention that property damage is always involved. Official investigations are performed following every serious boating accident, but affected victims might need more than that. As the above-presented statistics have shown, most boating accident causes are preventable, meaning usually there is a person that can be held responsible. Pointing fingers is however not a good idea, as the cause of the crash might not always be obvious.
At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, our Miami personal injury attorney has the necessary skills and experience to investigate boating accidents and determine liability. If you are not at fault for the accident, there is a good chance you'll be eligible to recover damages. Contact us as soon as possible at 305.416.9805 and we'll do our best to limit your losses and help you move one with your life.