Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

A man was killed and a woman hospitalized after a Sunday afternoon incident at the Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp.

According to Tampa Fire Rescue, two people were in a boat that hit something in the water.

No further information was immediately available.

Even if you are operating your boat safely and carefully, it is sometimes impossible to avoid an accident. Our Tampa Bay Boating Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have guided many Tampa Bay area residents through boating accident cases. The injuries sustained during a boating accident can be severe, which can create a stressful scenario for you and your family. We want to help you through this difficult time.

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Fourth of July weekend is here! This is a holiday that brings thousands of boaters to the water. More boaters means more boats and people on the water, more alcohol, and an increased risk of accidents and arrests for Boating Under the Influence (BUI).

Keep in mind that police will be on the lookout for drunk boaters this holiday weekend. With that said, you should practice safe boating habits and make sure that you are vigilant about the safety of everyone on board your vessel.

Studies show that the majority of boating accidents occur between the months of June, July and August, on Saturday or Sunday, between 12pm and 6pm. The majority of boating accidents involve operators between the ages of 20 and 40. In the state of Florida, it is required that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988 must have completed a boater education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), or passed an approved equivalency exam before operating a boat with an engine of more than 10 horsepower.

The Coast Guard rescued four boaters Saturday morning after their boat capsized 12 miles west of Johns Pass.

According to the Coast Guard, four Clearwater residents were saved after one of the men on board called 9-1-1 when he realized his 29-foot boat had begun taking on water just after 5:18 a.m.

The dispatcher was able to tell the caller to ‘don their life jackets,’ before communications were lost. A Coast Guard boat crew from St. Petersburg and an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater responded.

The helicopter arrived on scene at 6:20 a.m. and hoisted all four out of danger. They were all wearing their lifejackets.

No injuries were reported.

This case is an example of how important it is to have working radio communications and life jackets aboard your vessel. Thankfully, these boaters were prepared for the worst and were able to immediately call for help, and were able to be rescued swiftly and without any injuries.

Florida actually has more boating accidents every year than any other state. Many of these accidents occur because people fail to realize the dangers of operating a watercraft and do not understand the proper nautical safety laws and protocols. Our Tampa Bay Boating Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that education is crucial to limiting boat accidents.

It is important that you contact us if you or a loved one were involved in a boating accident. Maritime laws can be complicated, and we can help you comply with filing deadlines and all other requirements.

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A man on a jet ski has been killed in a crash near a Captiva Island resort.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement that the crash happened Monday night near South Seas Resort.

Officials believe the  victim’s watercraft hit a pole and he was thrown into the water. The man was wearing a life vest.

It is unclear at this time if the man was a guest at the resort.

In a study conducted by the University of Florida, researchers found that jet ski accidents result in much more significant injuries than other types of boating mishaps. The most common jet ski injuries include head injuries and serious trauma to the chest and abdominal areas. Most of these injuries happen when a jet ski hits an object causing the rider to be thrown into the object or another vessel.

If someone you love has been involved in a jet ski accident, you and your family may be entitled to recover money for:

  • Wrongful Death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Medical bills

With the assistance of our Tampa Bay Watercraft Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton, we can help you recover maximum compensation for your losses. If your loved one was lost in a jet ski accident, no amount of money will be able to  restore your family, but it can help cover economic losses to provide for your family now and in the future.

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Can you believe that Labor Day weekend is next week? Sadly, that means that summer is coming to an end. If you are like most Americans, you will have a three-day weekend to celebrate all your hard work this year. While you may be planning a trip to the beach or hanging back to relax at the pool with friends and family, just know that with all gatherings, the risk for injuries increases over holiday weekends.

If you are injured or someone you love is killed in a boating or swimming pool accident, you should discuss your legal options with our Tampa Bay Watercraft & Boating Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible following the accident.

We know that many Floridians favorite pastime over Labor weekend is to head out and enjoy the water on one of the last summer weekends. The waterways and public pools can be crowded this LDW, and crowds can increase the hazards, including drowning or near-drowning accidents.

If you are heading out with friends and family to spend the weekend on beaches, lakes and rivers, put safety first. Boats, jet skis, tubes, and other water sports equipment are fun, but they can be dangerous. Most people tend to listen to music and drink when on the water, which can cause everyone to get distracted and ignore safety measures. Another thing to remember is that drunk, distracted, or inexperienced boat drivers can often be involved in boat crashes that can injure passengers.

Keep in mind, anytime water is involved, there is always the risk of serious drowning incidents or other catastrophic injuries.

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For most, Labor Day weekend symbolizes the unofficial end of summer. As a three-day weekend, this gives many Americans the chance to celebrate with friends and family one more time before fall comes around and the weather gets cooler. Whether you plan on taking one last road trip for a weekend getaway or staying home and celebrating with family and friends, the Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to stay safe!

Labor Day Weekend has a high rate of preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths, both on the roadways and at homes across Tampa Bay and the rest of the country. To help you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday weekend, our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers have compiled a few helpful safety tips:

  • Roadway Safety AAA anticipates that nearly 35 million Americans will travel this Labor Day weekend. With this many people on the road, it is very important to remember roadway safety, obey traffic laws and to always stay alert and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.
  • Vehicle Safety – Along with obeying the rules of the road, it is equally important to make sure your vehicle is safe for travel. Check your vehicle’s fluids, brakes and lights before going on a trip. It is recommended to take your vehicle in for a quick inspection before you head out of town. If you have an older vehicle, you may want to consider renting a car with up-to-date safety features for your road trip.
  • Water & Pool Safety Because Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, pool parties and water activities are common. Make sure that all children are always supervised around and in the water.
  • BBQ Safety Tips – Labor Day weekend and barbecues go hand in hand. If you are planning on an outdoor grilling party, make sure that your grille is properly cleaned to avoid grease fires. Also, make sure to grill in a safe area away from structures, furniture and other flammable hazards. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and have a safety plan ready in place your barbecue goes awry.
  • Drink Responsibly – Holiday weekends, like Labor Day, see some of the highest rates of alcohol-related accidents and injuries than any other time of year, especially on roads and highways. If you plan on drinking, please do so responsibly and plan a safe ride home. Remember, police will be on high alert for motorists driving under the influence, so do not drink and drive.

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Four men were rescued on Friday after their boat capsized near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

A water rescue call came in around 12:52 p.m. for a small boat that had capsized at the bridge, according to St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue.

4939044794_23e70c74fc_zOfficials were able to find all of the men – one was clinging to the capsized boat, and three others were found less than a mile off shore floating west of the bridge.

All four men that were on the boat had their life vests on.

None of the boaters were harmed.

Boat accidents can refer to a vast number of incidences and usually occur due to the following reasons:

  • Inexperienced Operation: Many people operating a watercraft on Florida’s waterways lack the proper training or adequate experience to operate their vessels safely.
  • Operator Inattention: A day out on the water is a fun way to relax and relieve stress, however, countless distractions mean some vehicle operators may not be paying attention to various safety concerns, including other vehicles and channel markers.
  • Boating while Intoxicated: Drugs, alcohol and other substances can impair operator’s judgement and reaction times, leading to dangerous scenarios where accidents are likely to occur.

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A woman suffered severe injuries Sunday evening in Tampa in a jet ski crash on the Hillsborough River.

The driver of the jet ski lost control after crossing into the wake of a passing boat near the North Boulevard Bridge Sunday evening, according to Tampa Police Department Marine Patrol. The jet ski struck a metal sign posted near the center channel.

Were you injured on the waterways of Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island or the surrounding areas? Call Whittel & Melton today at 727-823-0000 or dial us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.

Officials believe the woman, who was a passenger on the jet ski, smashed her head on the sign. She was taken to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition. Officials have not released any further information about the woman.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is currently investigating the crash.

Investigators do not believe at this time that alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident.

In a study conducted by the University of Florida, researchers found that jet ski accidents actually produce far greater injuries than boating mishaps. The most common jet ski injuries include head and brain injuries and severe trauma to the chest and abdominal areas. Most of these injuries occur when a jet ski collides with a stationary object or other vessel causing the driver or passenger to be thrust into the object.

If you have been involved in a jet ski accident of any kind, you and your family may be entitled to financial recovery for:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent Impairments
  • Medical Bills
  • Future Medical Care
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of Consortium

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Spring break is officially here, which means there are going to be lots of kids, teens, families and college students taking cruises to exotic places. While some will be cruising with their parents, others will be venturing off into the seas with friends. Due to the fact that there will be a higher number of young passengers on board cruise liners, our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to point out some tips to keep yourself and those you are travelling with free from danger.

cruise ship departure in MiamiCruise vacations should be fun, relaxing and enjoyable. However, the reality is that many cruises can bring out all kinds of hazards, such as injuries, illnesses and even rape and other crimes. Statistics show that sexual assault is the number one type of crime that is most likely to occur on cruise ships, which is why it is essential for spring breakers to always be on high alert. If you have planned on going on a cruise during spring break, please review the following safety tips:

  1. Travel with a Group. It is much easier to become the victim of an assault or other type of crime when you are travelling solo. Always make sure you have a buddy with you, even though larger groups are preferable. Avoid exploring the ship by yourself at all times.
  2. Be Aware of your Surroundings. You should feel free to socialize with other passengers, but keep all interactions well within the public eye. In the event that there is any trouble, as long as you are with others, you will not be alone or isolated. Keep your communications in common areas and in sections of the ship where there is a lot of traffic, like the Lido deck or dining room. Do not allow yourself to be alone with a stranger in their stateroom or in yours. You never want to be in a secluded area that is away from cameras, passengers or other crew members who can assist in the event of an emergency.
  3. Keep a Close Watch on Your Beverages. Many cruise ship passengers become distracted when socializing and drinking, making it very easy to slip something in a potential victim’s drink, regardless of whether the drink is alcoholic or not. Since a drink can be drugged in just seconds, it is very important to always keep a close eye on your beverage. Should you walk away from your drink, always ask for a new refreshment when you return.

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This Saturday, Tampa Bay-area residents and visitors join in an unusual celebration called Gasparilla, one that marks the beginning of a new year and serves as a reminder of ancient times. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival was named in honor of the pirate Jose “Gasparilla” Gaspar, who is famed for terrorizing Florida’s west coast during the late 18th century and early 19th century. On Saturday, the city of Tampa will be “invaded” by Gasparilla and his men when their 165-foot pirate ship arrives in downtown Tampa, known as the Jose Gasparilla. The mayor of Tampa gives the key to the city to the pirate captain and a victory parade begins throughout the city’s streets.

8431098388_181f4bc534_zWhile this event is a lot of fun, it can also be very dangerous if proper steps are not taken to ensure the safety of yourself and others while on a boat. The following safety tips could be of use to you this weekend:

  • Make sure that you have a designated driver. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to operate any vessel on Florida waters while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any mixture of intoxicating substances.
  • Keep a close watch out for other boaters and watch your speed!
  • It is important to make sure that you have enough personal flotation devices for everyone on board before you head out on the water.
  • Make sure you have all necessary safety equipment on board and in working order.
  • Create a float plan with friends or family and have a working VHF radio on board.
  • Talk with all of your passengers before you head out about what to do in case of an emergency. That way you all have a game plan should your adventure go awry.

This weekend you will see many law enforcement vessels on the waterways, including boats from the Coast Guard, Tampa Police Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Hillsborough County and Pinellas County sheriff’s offices.

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