With so many Floridians and visitors enjoying the state’s many oceans, lakes and rivers, it’s no surprise that boating and waterway injuries or deaths can be quite common.
Taking a vacation on a cruise ship can be an enjoyable experience providing years of memories. However, with the beautiful sights and exotic locations there are also hazards you need to be aware of to ensure your trip is a safe one.
It is the responsibility of the cruise line to ensure the safety of its passengers while on board. The U. S. Coast Guard regularly inspects ships to make sure they are in compliance with the international rules for safety but cruise ship injuries can occur, so here are some of the most common dangers and how you can avoid them.
Some other safety concerns that could result in a personal injury lawsuit include:
According to the Consumer Public Safety Commission, every year in the U.S. about 300 children drown in swimming pools. Most victims were under adult supervision at the time of the accident and nearly all occur in familiar surroundings for the child like at home or with relatives or neighbors.
One moment of distraction can lead to tragic occurrences. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone call. According to the CPSC, 77 percent of drowning victims were out of sight of adults for less than five minutes.
It is important to maintain safety procedures around pools at all times. If you own a pool you are required to install a fence around it to prevent children from wandering into the pool when unsupervised. Keep the pool covered when it is not in use.
It is also important to maintain the pool, keeping the area around it dry to prevent slip and falls on the walkways around the pool.
Water activities like skiing and tubing can be great fun but also present numerous dangers. Most injuries that occur are collision related with hitting the water or other objects due to excessive speeds and negligence. People on the boats and participating in activities like water skiing should be equipped with a floatation device like a life preserver. At all times a spotter, someone other than the driver, should be keeping an eye on skiers from the back of the boat and be able to react quickly if an incident occurs.
Always check equipment before heading out onto the water, especially if they are rentals, be aware of your surroundings and maintain proper distance from others.
Tubing is also popular but can lead to a variety of injuries resulting from a participant’s position on the water tube, lack of directional control and velocity and the number of riders per water tube. The most common injury is head trauma and armingly such injuries are on the rise.
Like in many other maritime accidents, alcohol is often a contributing factor in people being injured. Another is negligence in basic boating safety like avoiding excess speeds and objects in the waterway.
Ferries and water taxis are often convenient ways to avoid road traffic and travel across bodies of water on repeated trips. They are also part of tourist attractions in certain parts of the world. While convenient, ferries and water taxis are involved in hundreds of incidents each year which cause injury or death to their passengers. One of the most common safety problems concerning ferries, water taxis and duck boats is overcrowding. When getting on board make sure to check the maximum capacity which is legally required to be posted.
Duck boats, while a hit tourist attraction for sightseers, present special problems because the regulations covering their safety can be confusing since they are considered to be both a land and water transportation vehicle. Slipping through the cracks on those regulations can lead to tragic circumstances.
In the last 20 years, 41 people have died in incidents involving duck boats in the US and Canada. Although these amphibious vehicles are required to have life jackets on board, in several tragic cases, passengers were able to put on their life jackets but became trapped inside the vessel as it sank.
Duck boats are as equally dangerous to pedestrians or vehicles when on land. Critics of duck boats say that they have too many blind spots for drivers to properly navigate roadways. Drivers of duck boats sit about 10 to 12 feet behind the bow making it challenging to see what is in front of them.
In 2015, land-bound duck boats killed several people across Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle. A duck boat killed a woman in Boston who was riding a scooter, A Texas woman was killed by a duck boat while crossing a street and five North Seattle College international students died after a duck boat hit the bus they were riding in.
Advocates have long pushed for more safety measures on duck boats and even suggested they be banned.
Alcohol can often be a factor in waterway crashes and is responsible for one-third of boat crashes that end in fatalities. Like with a car, the operator of a boat is considered legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol level of 0.08. If you’ve been in a crash on the water due to someone else’s negligence, the attorneys at Coker Law are experienced in waterway crashes and can help with your case and prove your injuries are the fault of another.
Personal recreational watercraft are often piloted by inexperienced operators, including teens, who aren’t responsible enough to handle the watercraft. For people under 21, if they are operating the boat the BAC level for them to be considered legally intoxicated is 0.02. If proper supervision isn’t applied, parents can be held negligent in these crashes.
Cases involving injuries on a ferry, tour boat, cruise ship or a chartered vessel can be complex due to the legal jurisdiction at the time of the injury. Working with an experienced attorney who understands the complexities of maritime law can be critical to the outcome of your case. You may qualify to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to your injuries. To speak with an experienced, board certified trial attorney or for more information, call (904) 356-6071.