Boat Accident Attorneys

Pensacola, Florida Boat Accident Lawyers

Attorneys Specializing in Boating Accident Lawsuits

Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis and Overholtz are highly experienced Pensacola boating accidents lawyers. These gifted attorneys can help you obtain compensation if you have been injured in a boat or shipping accident due to negligence of another.

Boating accidents are a type of vehicular accident involving water vessels. Boating accidents are most often caused as a result of careless, reckless or inattentive operation, operator inexperience, or excessive speeding. Boating accidents can involve privately owned vessels, commercially owned vessels, or both.

Boating Accident Injuries

As is the case with any type of vehicular accident, boating accidents can result in serious injury to those involved. Unlike some other vehicles, there are no brakes that boat operators can “slam on” to avoid an accident. Similarly, passengers are not protected by airbags, seatbelts or other precautionary devices associated with certain vehicles.

Many passengers are in fact standing and therefore far more susceptible to serious falls even in the most minor of boating accidents. Passengers are at risk of incurring a serious spinal cord injury that could potentially result in paralysis. A severe blow to the head caused by a boating accident could cause a brain injury. Serious injuries could elicit fatal results if a passenger falls overboard. The number one cause of death in boating accidents is in fact drowning.

Commercial Boating Accidents

Commercial boating accidents are the most serious type of boating accident because they typically involve large numbers of passengers. Cruise ships, commuter ferries, tour boats, etc. are all examples of commercial boats at risk of involvement in a commercial boating accident of some kind.

Commercial boating accidents resulting from owner / operator negligence are often cause for legal action. Negligent driving habits (speeding, driving under the influence, reckless driving) account for most commercial boating accidents. The owners of commercial boats are also required to perform routine maintenance checks to ensure that the vessel and its parts are functioning correctly. Failure to do so could result in a serious boating accident causing personal injury and/or wrongful death to those involved. As such, commercial boat owners are liable for accidents caused by negligent behavior on their part or the part of their employees.

Boating Accident Statistics 

In calendar year 2021, the Coast Guard counted 4,439 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,641 injuries and approximately $67.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

The fatality rate was 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 15.4% decrease from the 2020 fatality rate of 6.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

Compared to 2020, the number of accidents decreased 15.7%, the number of deaths decreased 14.2%, and the number of injuries decreased 17.2%.

Where cause of death was known, 81% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 83% were not wearing a life jacket.

Where length was known, 3 of every 4 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.

Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 16% of deaths.

Where instruction was known, 75% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. Only 16% percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate.

There were 188 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. Collectively, these accidents resulted in 24 deaths and 191 injuries.

Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. Where data was known, the most common vessel types involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (19%), and cabinmotorboats (13%).

Where data was known, the vessel types with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (44%), kayaks (15%), and pontoons (10%).

The 11,957,886 recreational vessels registered by the states in 2021 represent a 1.01% increase from last year when 11,838,188 recreational vessels were registered.

Recreational Boating Statistics 2021 – Boating Safety, United States Coast Guard

Reporting a Boating Accident

There are certain circumstances that require the reporting of a boating accident:

  • If a person dies as a result of the accident.
  • If a person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond basic first aid.
  • If there is damage to vessels and property exceeding $2,000.
  • If there is complete loss of a vessel.
  • If a person disappears from the vessel

A boating accident report must be filed within 48 hours of occurrence given any of the following circumstances:

  • If a person dies within 24 hours of accident occurrence.
  • If a person requires medical treatment beyond that of basic first aid.
  • If a person disappears from the vessel without trace.

Boating Accident Lawsuits 

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a boating accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. The Pensacola personal injury attorneys of Aylstock, Witkin Kreis & Overholtz handle national litigation across the United States. Learn more about boating accident victims’ rights and to discuss the possibility of filing a boating accident lawsuit by contacting the boat accident lawyers of AWKO Law today at (844) 794-7402.


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