Skip to Content
Contact Form Live Chat Review Us Map & Directions Videos

Boat Accidents Caused by Reckless Boating

Recover Your Losses with the Help of a Florida Boat Accident Lawyer

Every boat and vessel operator in Florida has a legal obligation to avoid operating in a careless or reckless manner. Under Florida law, reckless boating is illegal. If an accident is caused by reckless boating it is often up to the victim to prove that the operator was reckless and their negligence caused the accident. Our Florida boat accident lawyers have decades of experience helping accident victims hold reckless operators accountable. If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed due to an accident caused by careless or reckless boating, we can make sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Passengers in a Speedboat

What is Reckless Boating According to Florida Law?

Reckless or careless boating in the state of Florida is governed by Florida statute § 327.33. Reckless boating is defined as “operating a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.”  

Reckless operation is punishable by a first-degree misdemeanor. While there are minimal requirements for boater licenses in Florida, operators are still responsible for knowing safe boating practices, the “rules of the road” and Federal Navigation Rules. 

Accidents Caused by Reckless Boating

Whether the operator is boating under the influence or violating personal safety equipment regulations, reckless and careless operation of vessels is not only illegal, but also incredibly dangerous. Some of the most common accidents caused by reckless boating include: 

  • Colliding with another boat
  • Speeding
  • Boating in a restricted or prohibited area
  • Violating federal navigation rules
  • Overcrowding the boat or allowing passengers into restricted areas of the boat
  • Boating under the influence
  • Jumping wakes
  • Colliding with another object
  • Hitting large waves
  • Failure to provide required safety equipment
  • Operator error

The consequences of reckless boating often go beyond a citation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). An accident caused by a reckless operator can have life-changing consequences. 

Searcy Denney Florida boat accident lawyer, Greg Barnhart, represented a teenager who was partially paralyzed during a high school homecoming party on a 34-foot fishing boat off of Peanut Island in Palm Beach County. Barnhart took this case to trial after two failed mediations, and a jury awarded a $6.4 million verdict against the boat’s operators and owners for their negligence.

Working with Florida Boat Accident Lawyers to File a Claim

If you were injured as a result of a vessel operator’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To increase the likelihood that you will recover all available damages, take the following steps as soon as possible after an accident:

  1. Safety: Ensure you and all parties involved are safe and seek medical attention if needed. 
  2. Report the Accident: Boating accidents resulting in serious injury, death, or damage to the vessel(s) and/or personal property of at least $2,000, must be reported. 
  3. Gather Information: Record all details of the accident and take photos, get personal as well as insurance information from the boat operator. 
  4. Keep Records: Keep detailed records of all medical bills and other financial costs associated with your injuries. 

Compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages all depend on a variety of factors. A Florida boating accident lawyer can determine the options available to you and the possible ways that you can receive compensation for your injuries. 

Speak with a Florida Boat Accident Lawyer at Searcy Denney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a watercraft accident caused by reckless boating, we are available to talk with you, give you a realistic assessment of your claim, and help you pursue justice. Contact us online or call us to schedule an appointment for a free, confidential consultation with our Florida boat accident lawyers.


Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"Without question, a tier one law firm! I have been extremely pleased with the quality of service and their attention to detail. Everyone has been extraordinarily kind and professional. I highly recommend this fine organization!"
Posted By: Bud Wilder