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What Should I Do If I’m Involved in A Boating Accident in Florida?

What Should I Do If I’m Involved in A Boating Accident in Florida?

Dec 28, 2022

If you are involved in a boating accident in Florida, you will want to know how that accident is handled under the law. Unfortunately, boating laws can vary from state to state. Still, they generally cover issues like who should be allowed to operate a boat, what equipment must be on board, and what safety measures must be taken before launching your boat. This article will look at some of the main laws that apply when boating in Florida.

Before Boating, Understand the Laws

In Florida, as well as in many other states and on the federal level, there are strict requirements for who should and should not be allowed to operate a motorboat.

Boating laws are enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement, so be sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with them before you head out onto the water. 

For example, here are some boat laws in Florida.

  • Your boat must be registered
  • You need to have a valid boater safety card.
  • You need to have completed an approved boating safety course.
  • No boating under the influence 

Suppose you’re exempt from this requirement because someone else meets these requirements or is on board your vessel. In that case, you’ll still want a basic knowledge of their responsibilities when operating a boat so that they know what they’re doing while driving it!

In order to be eligible to operate a vessel, the operator must be at least 18 years of age. If you are between 16 and 17 years old, you may operate a vessel under close supervision with proof of successful completion of a boating safety course presentation by an approved instructor.

If you are under 16 years old, only those who have successfully completed an approved boating safety course and hold a valid certificate may operate any vessel on Florida waters. In addition, they must have on board a person who is at least 18 years old has had their boating education certificate for at least two (2) years, or have taken one or more CPR courses within the past two (2) years.

Prepare to Head Out on the Water

As you prepare to head out on the water, it’s important to make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing. If you’re going out with a group of friends and they don’t know how to swim, make sure that they have life jackets. Also, check the weather before you go out. If it says there are going to be strong winds or storms coming in, it might not be a good time for boating.

When it comes down to it: if anything goes wrong at sea in Florida (and this happens all over America), make sure everyone has their own life jacket and knows how to swim so that no one gets hurt!

What To Do If an Accident Occurs

If you are involved in a boating accident, the first thing that you must do is find a safe place to dock. This is crucial because it will allow you to assess your injuries and safety chances before attempting to move again. In addition, if the boat has capsized or there is water onboard, it is important not to panic. Taking this step will also help prevent further injury or damage because someone on board could be thrown overboard if there is not enough room for everyone on board.

Stay Calm. Don’t Panic.

If you are involved in a boat accident, the first thing that you must do is stay calm. Don’t panic. Stay focused on what is happening and what needs to be done.

There are many things that can happen when someone is in a boat accident, and it’s important for them to know what steps they need to take so they can get through the situation safely.

If Anyone Is Injured, Immediately Call for Medical Assistance.

In the event that anyone is injured, the first thing you must do is call for medical assistance. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance. Tell them where you are, how many people are injured, and give your name and phone number. If you don’t have a cell phone or if it’s not working (or if there is no reception/voice mail) try to use someone else’s to make the call.

Administering First Aid Immediately.

If you are involved in a boating accident, and someone is seriously injured, immediately begin administering first aid. If the person is unconscious, ensure that their airway remains clear by placing your hands behind their head and lifting it slightly. You can also tilt them forward, so that any vomit or blood does not block their breathing. 

If there is bleeding from an open wound, apply pressure to stop it (see image for illustration of how to apply pressure). If there is no outward flow of blood from an injury, but it appears to be painful or swollen, wrap ice around the site—do not place ice directly on the skin, as this can cause frostbite!

If someone suffers burns from an explosion caused by either gasoline or diesel fuel onboard your vessel, treat them as follows:

  • Get them out of direct contact with heat sources such as fire and hot surfaces such as engines.
  • Douse burns with cool water.
  • Cover burns with clothing (when appropriate)
  • Seek medical assistance, if necessary, if there are no signs of shock.

Check For Damage to The Boat and Any Other Property.

Once you have determined the extent of everyone’s injuries and got to a safe location, it is time to inspect your boat for damages. This is also when you begin considering your insurance policy and what it will and will not cover. 

Boating insurance in Florida would cover the damages sustained by the other party if the boating accident was due to your negligence. However, the exact amount of coverage and compensation you will receive depends on what you are currently paying for. 

You must file a claim with your insurance company to get reimbursed for any medical bills or property damages. You should be able to file this claim online, over the phone, or in person. When you file your claim with your insurance company, they will ask you questions about what happened and how it affected your boat and its passengers.

Your insurance company will need to make sure that they fully understand the situation, so it is important that you provide them with some kind of proof that supports your story: pictures taken right after the accident; receipts showing how much money was spent on repairs; medical records indicating what kind of treatment was received; etc.

What is Likely Covered Under Your Boat Insurance in Florida 

As stated above, the extent of your insurance is reliant on what and how much insurance you got BEFORE the accident occurred. You will not be able to purchase insurance to cover damages that have already occurred. This is why it is crucial to purchase boat insurance in South Florida when you first purchase a boat. 

Most boat insurance policies and insurance companies cover these things:

  • Your insurance policy can cover the medical expenses associated with treatment and recovery if you sustain bodily harm or someone else does.
  • As with auto insurance, property damage insurance can help cover the cost of fixing your boat or another individual’s boat if there is an accident.
  • Under a Florida boat insurance policy, vandalism or theft of your boat may be covered. However, any stolen or damaged personal items held on the boat may not be covered

Understanding “No Fault” State Laws

In Florida, the No-Fault Law applies to boat accidents. This means that if you’re involved in a boat accident resulting in personal injuries, your insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages up to $10,000 without requiring proof of who was at fault for the accident.

However, this does not mean that injured boaters cannot sue for damages if they wish—they can still sue for any additional damages above what their own insurance company paid out.

File Police Reports

You should also be making sure that all reporting requirements are met by filling out an incident report form with local police officers who were present at the scene when the boat crash occurred. 

By adhering to ALL the requirements of reporting a boat accident in Florida, we protect ourselves from being sued later down the road since everyone knows how expensive lawsuits can sometimes get, especially if people don’t report everything correctly!


Remember that risks are involved the next time you’re at the dock or out on the water. If you want to minimize those risks and keep yourself and your passengers safe, make sure you know what kind of coverage you have on your boat and what types of accidents could happen in different weather conditions.

Boating accidents are an unfortunate consequence of being on the water, but they can be mitigated with comprehensive insurance coverage. Before you head out on your next voyage, review this guide to handling a boating accident in Florida.

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