If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one after a yacht - or other recreational boat - accident, as a result of safety violations or negligence, we can recover compensation through insurance from the responsible parties.
We work with maritime safety experts, investigators, and other professionals to determine the causes of a yachting accident and recover compensation for you and your family.
Sean M. Cleary
Why should there be a concern when it comes to yachting dangers? The U.S. Coast Guard reports that each year there are over 600 boating accidents in Florida. Recent yearly statistics show that over 2K individuals have been involved in vessel accidents, out of which 421 suffered injuries and 67 victims died. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission registered 67 accidents per year involving recreational vessels in Miami-Dade County, which caused 7 fatalities and 37 injuries. Monroe County had the highest number of registered accidents per year, 105, which caused 3 fatalities and 52 injuries. The highest number of Florida yachting accidents occurred while cruising during the months of May and August.
Yacht and recreational boat accidents: Types and causes
Typically, a recreational boat can mean any of the following water crafts:
Non-commercial fishing boats
Personal watercrafts (jet skis & wave runners)
Kayaks, paddleboards & canoes
Inflatable & semi-rigid inflatable boats
With almost 900K registered vessels, Florida is the yachting and boating capital of the USA. Unfortunately, Florida boating requirements do not place stringent instruction or age restrictions on individuals operating certain types of vessels. Therefore, people can operate yachts in Miami without specialized knowledge of these particular watercraft, causing accidents due to limited ability to maneuver the vessels.
Statistically, yacht- and other boating-related serious injuries often result from:
Injuries relative to a yacht and other recreational boat accidents may occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
1. The negligence of the operator:
Boating under the influence
Failure to vent fumes
Inadequate onboard navigation lights
Navigation rules violation
Making sharp turns
Starting in gear
People on gunwale, bow or transom
2. Failure of yacht or yacht equipment:
Electrical system failure
Exhaust system failure
Steering system failure
Throttle and ventilation system failure
Although yachts are built to last, some issues can develop as time passes. Most yacht manufacturers provide buyers with a limited warranty coverage that applies to certain products and items. Defects in materials and workmanship in the boat and all components and accessories are usually covered, along with structural defects in materials and workmanship in the hull, blistering due to defects in material and workmanship in the gel coat surface to the hull bottom.
Yacht and recreational boat accidents: Who is responsible?
Compensation is recovered from insurance companies involved from liable parties that might be held responsible for boating accidents:
The boat operator. The operator of the boat is responsible for the negligent behavior or for failure to provide reasonable safety.
The owner of the boat. Yacht owners are required to comply with laws and regulations that govern the safety of a seagoing vessel. If someone is injured or a drowning occurs, a ship's owner can be held liable if safety violations were involved.
The manufacturer of the boat. The manufacturer or seller of a recreational boat can be liable for selling a boat that was defective.
The rental company. A rental company that rents out boats can be liable for negligently renting out a defective watercraft or in failing to take precautions such as making sure any operator of the watercraft is knowledgeable in safely operating a boat.
The boating tour operator. A company that operates boating tours may be liable for negligently maintaining a boat, resulting in machinery failure, or in negligently hiring a boat pilot who lacks training or failing to properly assess the weather or water conditions that day.
A passenger. A person who acts in a reckless manner and this results in the victim being injured is responsible for the negligent behavior.
Boating injury cases are subject to Florida's maritime law rather than state personal injury laws. This means that these cases are handled differently and settled according to other laws than personal injury cases.
If you were a victim of a boating accident, you can claim compensation for your injuries from the negligent parties. A claim for damages should include:
Pain and suffering
Loss of consortium
To ensure our clients receive compensation proportional to the financial impact of their injury, our attorney consults medical planners and life care planners who can accurately quantify the costs of an injury, including medical needs and expenses for the injured person's entire future life expectancy.
At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we are able to assist you with determining the full amount of claims you are entitled to receive.
How can we help in a yacht and recreational boat accident case?
If you or a loved one were injured in a yachting or recreational boating accident in Miami or other cities in Florida, do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. Our lawyer has years of experience in handling boating accident cases and understands the devastation they bring.
Unfortunately, boating accidents often result in terrible injuries that can have a life-threatening impact on the victim. As the victim of a boating accident, you should not be forced to both recover from your accident and cover the tremendous financial burden at the same time. The responsible party should be held liable for any resulting injuries.
We interview eyewitnesses to determine what happened and what could have been done to prevent the accident that caused your injuries. In cases involving collisions with other vessels or fixed objects in inshore and offshore waters, we determine if alcohol was involved, if poor ship upkeep was to blame, or if sea lanes were violated. Contact our Miami based office today for a free case evaluation.
What Are the Penalties for Violating Boating Regulations in Florida? »
Everyone on board a yacht and anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear a US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. Violating this regulation and others pertaining to boating are punishable with a $50 - $80 fine, depending on the county.
What Are the Penalties for Boating Under the Influence (BUI)? »
The penalties for boating under the influence generally consist of fines that can be up to $5K, suspension or revocation of the boat operating privileges, or even jail terms. It is important to keep in mind that it is illegal to operate any vessel or water skis, sailboard, or similar device while under the influence of alcohol (BAC 0.15 or higher), controlled substances, or drugs.