Jose Fernandez Tragic Boating Accident

Jose Fernandez Tragic Boating Accident

In the wake of the recent, tragic loss of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez, experts are examining boating injuries and fatalities.

What led to the accident that resulted in the death of Fernandez and two friends is not yet clear. Toxicology results are not in yet however rumors of a late night visit to the American Social Bar & Kitchen along the Miami River and lack of boating experience are all factors being looked into.

Currently, Florida leads the nation in boating accidents and deaths. In 2015, we far surpassed all other states as the country’s most accident-prone state. Florida set the stage for 671 boaters involved in accidents last year. California, the runner-up for most boaters involved in incidents, had 369 reports.

One contribution to the overwhelming statistics is that Floridians own more boats than any other state’s residents. However, Minnesota, Michigan, and California host nearly as many registered boaters and the combined number of all three states’ fatalities does not come close to that of Florida’s. Clearly, there is a problem in Florida with regulatory conditions when it comes to training requirements for boating.

The largest factors that contribute to accidents on the water include a lack of experience in boating, alcohol, and unsafe driving speeds. Lack of enforcement of boating regulations significantly exacerbate the already jeopardized safety on the water. A 2013 New Times report stated that two-thirds of Floridian boat accidents involved people with no formal training. For residents born after 1988, there is no requirement for courses to operate a watercraft legally. Additionally, there is no legal minimum age to captain the boat.

The lack of training and expertise required to operate a boat is alarming. It is disturbingly dangerous for drivers to be behind the wheel of a large piece of machinery without the knowledge of how the boat works, how to respond to emergency situations or how to navigate the water. Worse, it jeopardizes the safety of innocent swimmers, divers and other boats on the water.

In June 2016, a man lost his leg after a hit-and-run boating accident. The victim, Logan Farquhar, lost part of his leg to a ski boat propeller. The ski boat fled the scene, leaving the victim and his family helpless.

In 2014, local radio personality DJ Laz piloted a takeoff from the Nixon Beach sandbar that killed Ernesto Hernandez. The victim’s leg was sliced by a propeller during launch. The family of the victim filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Laz, but the DJ was given only a citation. Additionally, he had to pay $500 civil penalty, $1,000 to a beach restoration fund and agree to 120 hours of community service.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is prompting boaters to practice easy, simple changes that can effectively make boating safe for everyone. One such change: wearing a life jacket. Since 2003, drowning has been the leading cause of death in fatal boat accidents. Eighty-seven percent of victims were reportedly not wearing life jackets.

While the nation bands together to better understand and eliminate the causes for injury and incidence while boating, we ask everyone to take a moment of silence for Jose Fernandez, and for all those lives impaired or taken on a watercraft.

We respectfully acknowledge the unacceptability of these accidents that lead to injury and death. If you have been a victim of an accident or have lost a loved to any such incident, contact the attorneys at the Blaut Weiss Law Group at 954-634-1800 for a Free Consultation.