The Source for Maritime Legal Information

Sarasota_boat_accident-300x169A boat flipped over and capsized in Sarasota Bay on January first leaving four injured.  Law enforcement located the boat in the early afternoon south of the John Ringling Causeway between Marina Jack and Bird Key.  An inspection revealed damage to the boat’s hull, windshield and propeller casing.  It has been reported that the boat was en route to a poker run where high speed and performance vessels gather to participate in various activities.  Small Craft advisories were posted at the time of the accident and rough weather is believed to be a contributing factor for the accident.

Photo: CBS Interactive Inc. 18 cruise passengers were seriously injured, at least 11 fatally, while on their way to a shore excursion to the ancient Maya ruins at Chaccoben, Mexico, which was sold and advertised by Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises. Eight of the individuals killed are of American citizenship, others killed include two Swedes, one Canadian and one Mexican. Sadly, as reports of the incident were issued by various news reporting agencies, the number of individuals killed kept increasing.

Per reports, approximately 31 cruise passengers were riding on a shore excursion bus on their way to the Maya ruins when the reportedly speeding bus overturned sending many flying to the side of the road; injuring 18 and killing at least 11 passengers.  The passengers were from the Celebrity Equinox and the Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, both of which are owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. and that sailed from Port Everglades on Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those affected. Continue reading

Fort_Myers_Boat_Accident_LawyerA Fort Myers man has died last weekend after being ejected from the boat he was traveling aboard.  The boating accident occurred near Hemp Key off Pine Island at 5:30 in the afternoon.  Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation reveals that Canaan Johnson was thrown from the boat when it struck the sand bar and then the boat ran over him.  Three other people were aboard the 19’ boat at the time of the accident. No other injuries were reported.  First responders arrived at the accident scene within an hour but had difficulty reaching the boat due to the shallow water. Mr. Johnson was taken to the Pineland Marina where he was pronounced dead.

Jet-Ski-Accident-300x214A Florida Jet Ski accident leaves a man unconscious.  The accident occurred on December 3, 2017 and was videoed by an off-duty policeman who was the first on the scene to render assistance.  Despite wearing a lanyard attached to a switch designed to cut off the engine when the rider is thrown off the Jet Ski, the machine was still running after the accident.  It is unknown at this time if the Jet Ski was rented or owned by the rider.  Florida has strict laws concerning the renting of all personal watercrafts including Jet Skis.  These laws require the rental company to provide detailed instruction on the safe handling and navigation of these watercrafts.  If these instructions are not properly given, a court may find the rental company liable for the accident.  It has been reported that the victim is making a steady recovery.

MS-NOORDAM-crew-arrested-for-alleged-rape-300x169A 33-year-old man employed by Holland America Line was arrested by New Zealand Police on Tuesday and charged with sexual violation.  Police were called on Tuesday afternoon while the vessel was docked in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand to investigate an alleged rape and sexual assault reported to have occurred earlier that morning aboard the MS Noordam.  The alleged victim is a cruise ship worker and per reports she and alleged perpetrator knew each other.

The alleged perpetrator is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. A spokeswoman for Holland America Line, which operates the ship and employed the two crew members, said no guests were involved in the alleged incident.

Holland America is not new to reports of sexual assaults on-board its vessels.  In 2014, a room service attendant brutally assaulted, raped and attempted to murder a female passenger traveling on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam.  The perpetrator, Ketut Pujayasa is currently serving a 30 year prison sentence after confessing to the crime.

Injured-Cruise-Passengers-Princess-300x168Two injured cruise passengers were medevaced from Princess’ Coral Princes last Tuesday.  The first passenger was a 73-year-old man with internal bleeding.  The second passenger was a 79-year-old man with a broken arm.  Though unrelated, the injured occurred on the Coral Princess cruise ship near Port Everglades.  EMS crews were dispatched aboard two response boats where they met to the cruise ship. Both passengers were transported to Broward General Hospital.

The 37th Annual Key West Super Boat International World Championship took place Thursday through Sunday.  On Thursday morning, a 50-foot powerboat flipped over while heading south on the bayside of Marathon about a quarter mile of mile marker 48.5.  The 50-foot power boat made by Rhode Island manufacturer Outerlimits was part of the Florida Powerboat Club’s annual poker run, which includes boats cruising from Miami to Key West. The boat was headed to Key West for display during race weekend.  But, while on the way, it went out of control and flipped over killing one and injuring three others.

Joseph Sgro, 63, from Long Island was one of two operators of the boat at the time of the accident and was operating the throttles when the boat rolled over.  Sgro was airlifted to a Miami hospital by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Trauma Star air ambulance where he was later pronounced dead.  Three others were taken to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier with injuries including a broken shoulder blade.  The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Per reports, Sgro was a longtime powerboat racer with more than a dozen national and world titles in power boating.   We extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Mr. Sgro.

Airboat-Flips-Killing-TWo-Men-300x161Two boaters were found dead Sunday night around 8:30 p.m. following their airboat flipping at around 5:00 p.m. near the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp in central Brevard.  Four men were on the airboat at the time of the accident; two were able to make it to shore without incident and two others went missing in the water.  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Brevard County Sheriff’s officials responded to the scene of the accident and spent several hours searching for the two missing men with the assistance of the Brevard Sheriff’s office agricultural unit and dive team as well as the agency’s helicopter.  The bodies of the two drowned men were located at approximately 8:30 p.m.  They are described as men between the ages of 70-80 and it remains unknown whether they were wearing life jackets.   The area where the incident occurred is a popular tourist stop for those interested in flat-bottom boat rides.  We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of these two men.

This incident is the second airboat incident in less than a month.  In late October, we wrote about another airboat incident involving an airboat that crashed head-on into a tree at a high rate of speed and which resulted in critical injuries to two of the fifteen passengers.  Florida law does not require boaters to obtain a license.  A boating safety course is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more.  Still, the law provides several exemptions.  Additionally, with respect to airboats, there are no separate education requirements.

Our board certified attorneys are highly experienced in handling wrongful death claims resulting from airboat collisions.  With accidents involving airboats, there are several important considerations such as whether the accident occurred on navigable waters, whether the airboat was properly maintained and inspected, and if a tour company was involved, whether the tour company and tour guide were properly licensed.

 

John Skylar Brogdon (Family Photo )Two boats collided on Saturday morning at Lake Talquin in Leon County, Florida resulting in the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy. According to reports, the collision occurred due to miscommunication between the two boats.  Two adults, a man and a woman, from one of the vessels were injured and were transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.  The 10-year-old, John Skylar Brogdon, was reported missing following the accident.  According to a family member of the boy, they were fishing and had visited a few fishing holes when John wanted to use the restroom.  As the boat was headed to the landing for John to use the restroom, the accident occurred.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the accident and jointly conducted a search and rescue operation for the boy starting at around 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon and continuing into Monday morning.  Per reports there are approximately 15 divers searching for the child.  Family members and friends are also helping, bringing their own boats to help with the search, which has unfortunately turned into a recovery operation.  As of Sunday afternoon, law enforcement was awaiting for the arrival of sonar equipment to assist in the search.

The cause of the accidents remains under investigation by FWC.

Tom_and_Jerrys_Airboat_Accident-300x200A Tom & Jerry’s Airboat Rides crash injured several passengers during a morning tour. The airboat tour boat operating out of central Florida lost control and crashed head-on into a tree at a high rate of speed. Out of the fifteen aboard, fourteen were injured, two of which sustained critical injuries.

The tour started at 10:00 A.M. on the morning of October 24th. There were three parties aboard, a father and son from the United Kingdom, a group of ten also from the United Kingdom and a family of three from the United States. The guide took the fifteen passengers to an area near the landing which contained cypress trees where he pointed out wildlife and provided historical information. The tour guide then operated the airboat down a narrow creek in the direction of Lake Panasoffkee at a fast rate of speed sweeping right then sweeping left in a serpentine type pattern. While sweeping left, the boat collided head-on with a tree on the bank. The collision with the tree was at such a force that many of the passengers were injured as they struck the railings and seats in front of them. After the collision, it was discovered that the tour guide did not have a radio and was unable to obtain a signal on his cell phone. It was one of the injured passengers who contacted Tom & Jerry’s Airboat Rides to report the accident and the need for help. The airboat tour company sent another boat that ferried the passengers back to the landing where first responders were waiting.

Our board certified lawyers have vast experience handling personal injury claims resulting from airboat collisions. There are several key factors that come into play when prosecuting airboat personal injury claims. These include whether the accident occurred on navigable waters, whether the tour company and tour guide were properly licensed as well as whether the airboat was properly maintained and inspected. Our lawyers also have success in obtaining court rulings invalidating the personal injury waivers typically used by such tour operators.