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With warm weather year round, many residents and tourist are discovering the joys of boating and being out on the water in South Florida. Whether just offshore in the Atlantic Ocean or in one of Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami-Dade county’s many lakes, boating is a popular pastime for many South Florida families and tourists.
South Florida is in many ways to boating capital of the U.S. with over 300 miles of waterways spanning Palm Beach and Broward counties. Additionally, you don’t have to own your own boat to enjoy a day out on the water. With the advent of peer-to-peer boat renting companies, renting a boat to enjoy a day on the water is becoming increasingly popular.
While boating is a fun activity for many South Florida residents and tourists, safety should always be top of mind. Those inexperienced with operating a boat or knowing boat safety guidelines should be prudent. As under Florida law, boat owners can be held liable for negligence if found acting recklessly or carelessly towards others on the water.
Boating accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. The U.S. Coast Guard states that the two most common contributing factors to boating accidents are operator inattention and operator inexperience.
Propeller injuries are one of the most devastating, life-changing injuries that can happen to families enjoying a day boating on the water. According to statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, propeller injuries are on the rise:
- Propeller accidents increased by 38.7 percent between 2013 and 2014 (USCG)
- The total number of USCG reported propeller injuries increased from 187 to 309 (122 more injuries), or a 65.2 percent increase.
- The total number of USCG propeller fatalities increased from 19 to 24 (5 more fatalities), or a 26.3 percent increase.
How are Propeller Injuries Caused:
Propeller injuries commonly occur when a passenger is sitting or standing near the back of the boat or over the gunwale. It’s easy for an inexperienced boat operator to lurch the boat forward accelerating unexpectedly causing the passenger to fall or fly off the back of the boat. Once thrown overboard, these passengers can hit the boat’s propeller. These injuries are also seen when passengers are unexpectedly thrown off the back of a jet ski or when jumping off a boat to scuba dive. Propeller Injuries can also result from:
- Swimmer and/or diver struck by the boat motor or propeller
- Person falls overboard and then in struck by the motor/propeller
- Skier mishap
In a report by propeller safety.com, it was found that 43 percent of all propeller injuries nationwide occurred in lakes. Florida ranks the highest in propeller injuries at 14 percent. California was second at 12 percent.
Propeller Accident Factors:
Propeller accidents can be caused by a myriad of factors, the common causes of propeller injuries are:
- Operator inattention
- Passenger or skier behavior
- Operator inexperience
- Careless or reckless operation
- Alcohol use
The types of injuries sustained by a propeller injury vary. In 95 percent of all propeller injury accidents, first aid is required. Some common propeller injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head or neck injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Contact Zimmerman & Frachtman Today
If you or a loved one have been injured by propeller injury caused by a boater negligence you may be entitled for compensation for your injuries, loss of work, hospitalization, surgeries, rehab, physical therapy, prosthesis, follow-up care, and pain and suffering.
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