South Florida is well known for being a boater’s paradise, however it is also known for being one of the more dangerous regions for recreational boaters, as well. The U.S. Coast Guard ranked Florida as the state with the highest number of boating accidents totaling 671, nine of which were fatal, causing 52 deaths. California had the second most boating accidents with 369.


In light of this, Florida’s boating laws have been called into question, perhaps for being too relaxed. The tragedy involving the Marlins pitcher is not the first high profile boating accident in recent memory. In 2014 a swimmer died after allegedly being sucked into the propeller of a boat owned by a local radio personality. Just months later, a speedboat collided with another vessel carrying a family of eight, causing it to spin into another nearby vessel.


These unfortunate incidents bring to light the frequency of boating accidents in areas throughout South Florida, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Currently there is no legal minimum age requirement to operate a boat, and for anyone born before 1988, no courses are required to operate recreational boats. Making matters worse, recreational boating often intersects with alcohol use, yet those operating boats seem to be ticketed far less than those behind the wheel of a car.


Recreational boating is an activity that will remain a South Florida staple without question. However, in light of tragedies like that of Jose Fernandez, it is important that those operating these watercraft, which in many cases are capable of dangerously high speeds, do so in a safe and responsible manner. Only then will boating accidents, and the severe injuries that can result, occur less frequently.


For more information on this topic or any other, please contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at