Articles Posted in Recreational Boating & Water Sport Accidents

MIAMI, Florida– The dangers of operating personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, have again come into the forefront with the reported death of a 32-year-old man who was operating his personal watercraft in the waters of Blue Lagoon in Miami, Florida. On Monday afternoon, the man was seen flying into the air off his jet ski, appearing to have struck something causing it to abruptly stop, ejecting him into the water. There were others with him at the time who immediately tried to locate him, but due to the conditions of the water, which included choppy and murky water with a lot of seaweed, the young man’s body was unable to be found.

jet-ski-300x200Search and rescue efforts were then started by the City of Miami Dive Rescue, and those efforts were stopped without successfully locating the body, due to weather conditions. Yesterday, it was reported that a body, identified as the Manuel Aponte, the individual involved in the jet ski incident, was found. The body was found floating in the same area that the accident had occurred.

MIAMI, Florida-Yesterday evening, an 80-year-old Florida woman had to be hospitalized after the boat she was traveling on capsized, throwing all 14 passengers into the water. The boat began taking on water in a canal off of Biscayne Bay, located in Miami, Florida. It was reported that the boat then struck a wave, causing it to flip with all 14 passengers, which included children, falling into the water.

capszie-boat-300x225Fortunately, there was a Good Samaritan who observed the incident and responded promptly, rescuing four passengers before the police and rescue team arrived. During this time, an elderly woman, listed to be 80 years old, was discovered to be trapped under the water. By the time she was pulled out of the water,  she did not have a pulse. She needed to be resuscitated and immediately hospitalized. I do not have any updates as to her condition.

MIAMI, Florida-Dalton Matthew Reas, 20 years old, from Wauchula Florida, is reported to have been arrested by Charlotte County Sheriff’s office in connection with the death of Dylan Gonzalez, a 23 year old young fisherman from Englewood.

fl-boat-blog-300x225The boating accident happened on June 19 near Boca Grande. Mr. Gonzalez was aboard a boat described as a 19-foot Ranger. Another passenger on the boat was also injured from the crash.  The boat that Dalton Reas was operating was a 20-foot Lake and Bay boat, and had 5 passengers on board. A passenger aboard the 20-foot boat was also injured.

MIAMI, Florida– This past Sunday, a pleasure boat collided into a Washington State ferryboat. The report is that the operator of the pleasure boat was below deck at the time, and that is the likely reason the ferry was not observed by the operator of the pleasure boat. Fortunately, there was no significant damages to either vessel, or to any person. The ferryboat was cleared to continue with its operation without any shutdown.

ferry-1406024-300x298A collision between two vessels on navigable waters triggers the application of maritime law, and there are very special laws that apply to collisions at sea. Typically, when two vessels collide, the doctrine of comparative negligence will apply where each vessel will be assigned a percentage of fault in the collision. In this case fault will likely fall on the operator of the smaller vessel who should have maintained a proper lookout and gotten out of the way.

MIAMI, Florida–Florida remains one of the leading states in the country regarding fatalities associated with recreational boating and water sport accidents.In this recent tragedy reported by various news outlets, it is reported that a 15-year-old boy from Vero Beach, Florida died after being thrown out of a 17-foot Boston Whaler boat that was driven by another young teenager in the Indian River Lagoon. 

waves-300x225The boat involved in this accident was towing another person who was either water skiing or wakeboarding at the time.  How fast the boat was going is unknown at this time but apparently it had some type of wake causing the boy to be ejected and knocked unconscious. The early reports indicate he was not wearing a life jacket. Efforts were made for search and rescue, and the United States Coast Guard was involved. His body was found in the lagoon later that afternoon.

MIAMI, Florida–A boating accident was reported to have occurred on Black Creek, a tributary of the St. Johns River. Black Creek is located in Clay County, Florida. The woman who was a passenger on the boat suffered serious injuries that required hospitalization. A male passenger, also on the boat, was sent to the hospital as well. The boat they were traveling on hit a tree at about 30 mph. Charles Spiegel, who was driving the Boston Whaler involved in the crash, described the accident as follows, “I just came around the bend and there’s an overhanging branch. I cut it hard and broadsided the tree branch.”

black-creek-300x225We are familiar with the well-publicized fatal boating accident involving famous Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernandez, whose boat struck a projected jetty at night, resulting in three deaths. The issue of better lighting and better warnings has been discussed since that fatal accident.

It has been less than a month since the shocking death of Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a horrible recreational boating accident when the 32-foot powerboat he was a passenger in crashed into a rocky jetty off Miami Beach. Fernandez’s two friends, Emilio Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero, both from Miami, also died as a result of the crash. The U.S. Coast Guard found their boat turned upside down on the north jetty of Government Cut,  a channel that connects the Atlantic Ocean into Biscayne Bay of Miami.

Although it had been reported that the boat was traveling at a high rate of speed, the accident that occurred at night has now resulted in a federal agency investigation into whether or not the jetty and surrounding areas should be better marked and lighted.

baseballA baseball star, and soon-to-be father, 24-year-old Jose Fernandez, described as one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, lost his life due to a boating accident that occurred in Miami, Florida, on Sunday, September 25.

So far, reports indicated that the boat was traveling at a high rate of speed and hit the jetty rocks at Government Cut off of Miami Beach, causing the 32-foot Sea Vee Center Console Fishing Boat to flip over. Three bodies were recovered by the United States Coast Guard when they responded to reports of debris that was seen floating. Baseball star Fernandez is believed to have died from the impact of the crash, not from drowning. In a news release this afternoon, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission stated that Fernandez was the owner of the boat that crashed, killing him and two of his friends, Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero. The operator of the boat at the time of the crash is still under investigation.

sharkIn June of 2015, Elke Specker paid for a dive trip off the coast of California, where the dive boat drove her to, and while she was diving in the water to observe the sharks, she claims she was bitten by a mako shark. She sued the dive instructor, and the dive company, alleging that the instructor was drunk and negligently caused the shark to come directly to the diver, which then bit her. The dive boat company denied that the instructor was drunk, and even denied that the shark bit the participant.

The interesting issue was that the defendant in the lawsuit claimed in the federal court lawsuit that there was no admiralty and maritime jurisdiction over the case. A federal district court has jurisdiction over a case involving admiralty law and maritime law. If the federal judge agreed it was not a case falling within the maritime jurisdiction of the federal court, the case would have had to been refiled in a state court.

A horrible jet ski accident was reported to have occurred about a mile and a half south of Bill Baggs State Park, near Key Biscayne. Two young women were riding the jet ski together on Monday afternoon. The reports indicate that the watercraft ran aground and propelled the women off the jet ski, critically injuring one of the women. The other woman was reported to have suffered some facial injuries. The seriously injured woman was flown to the trauma center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The reports indicated that she suffered head and neck injuries, and was not moving her extremities.

jet ski 2The fortunate occurrence regarding this event was that a party boat was passing by, and the experienced captain in charge of the boat, Captain Alexis Perez, came to the rescue of the women. The seriously injured woman was laying in the water, unable to move, and likely would have drowned if it was not for the prompt intervention by this captain. He was able to move the woman onto the back of the jet ski, waiting with her until Miami-Dade Fire Rescue divers arrived.