Boating/Waterway Crashes

1With so many Floridians and visitors enjoying the state’s many oceans, lakes and rivers, it’s no surprise that boating and waterway crashes can be quite common. Most boating crashes are caused by inexperience or inattention. 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.

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. For people under 21, the BAC level in 0.02.

Personal recreational watercraft are often piloted by inexperienced operators, including teens, who aren’t responsible enough to handle the watercraft. If proper supervision isn’t applied, parents can be held negligent in these crashes.


  • All people on a personal watercraft must wear an approved non-inflatable personal flotation device. Inflatable flotations are not considered proper safety equipment.
  • You must be 14 years old to pilot a personal watercraft in Florida.
  • It’s illegal to knowingly allow an underage driver to operate a personal watercraft.
  • Maneuvering through congested traffic, waiting to swerve or jumping wakes in congested areas can be cited for reckless operation of a vessel.
  • Personal watercraft can’t be operated at night.

To keep your day on the water safe, follow the rules and the law:

  • Any aggressive driving of a boat in a congested waterway can result in a charge of reckless operation of a vessel.
  • If skiing or towing a aquaplaning rider, the boat must have a spotter.
  • Divers must display diver down flags.
  • Divers are expected to stay within 300 feet of the flag.

Other important boating laws:

  • Children 6 years old or younger must wear a personal flotation device.