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Boating Accidents

Florida Personal Injury in Boating Accidents

The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart
www.TheMiamilaw.com
866-438-6574

Florida is the number one states in the country for fatal boating accidents. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2011 reportable boating accidents by county are as follows:

2011 REPORTABLE BOATING ACCIDENTS 2011 VESSEL REGISTRATION AND ACCIDENTS BY COUNTY
County Recreational Vessels Total Vessels Reportable Accidents Fatalities Injuries Property Damage Rank Accident Rate*
Alachua 10,404 10,721 3 1 2 $0 39 1:3,574
Baker 2,242 2,251 0 0 0 $0 58 0
Bay 18,192 19,157 17 0 8 $944,947 13 1:1,127
Bradford 2,335 2,353 0 0 0 $0 59 0
Brevard 33,712 35,090 25 4 10 $255,680 8 1:1,404
Broward 41,227 42,687 41 6 13 $575,175 4 1:1,041
Calhoun 1,614 1,642 1 0 1 $500 49 1:1,642
Charlotte 19,983 20,602 8 0 7 $118,000 25 1:2,575
Citrus 15,697 16,362 5 1 7 $13,000 34 1:3,272
Clay 12,263 12,499 11 2 9 $14,500 20 1:1,136
Collier 20,765 21,691 34 2 24 $187,453 7 1:638
Columbia 4,404 4,449 0 0 0 $0 60 0
Desoto 2,230 2,301 0 0 0 $0 61 0
Dixie 2,455 2,727 6 0 5 $6,000 27 1:455
Duval 28,646 29,412 19 4 5 $85,250 11 1:1,548
Escambia 16,152 16,627 10 0 6 $45,000 21 1:1,663
Flagler 5,173 5,276 2 0 0 $42,500 43 1:2,638
Franklin 2,373 3,670 4 0 1 $22,500 35 1:918
Gadsden 2,460 2,505 2 2 0 $2,500 44 1:1,253
Gilchrist 1,716 1,748 3 0 3 $3,700 40 1:583
Glades 1,190 1,241 6 1 4 $15,000 28 1:207
Gulf 2,665 2,979 2 0 1 $2,180 45 1:1,490
Hamilton 925 934 0 0 0 $0 62 0
Hardee 1,596 1,621 0 0 0 $0 63 0
Hendry 2,772 2,908 1 0 0 $15,000 50 1:2,908
Hernando 9,158 9,368 6 1 1 $222,130 29 1:1,561
Highlands 8,516 8,645 1 0 1 $0 51 1:8,645
Hillsborough 41,563 42,423 20 7 14 $113,050 9 1:2,121
Holmes 2,124 2,139 0 0 0 $0 64 0
Indian River 10,352 10,803 15 1 5 $66,600 15 1:720
Jackson 4,715 4,745 1 0 1 $0 52 1:4,745
Jefferson 1,307 1,335 0 0 0 $0 65 0
Lafayette 975 983 1 0 1 $0 53 1:983
Lake 21,293 21,579 6 2 5 $19,500 30 1:3,597
Lee 42,273 43,618 38 1 18 $386,483 5 1:1,148
Leon 14,213 14,498 1 1 0 $0 54 1:14,498
Levy 4,037 4,387 4 0 1 $27,500 36 1:1,097

Due to the dangers of boating in Florida, effective October 1, 2011, boaters will need to obtain an identification card indicating that they have completed a safety course. The Florida Law on boating safety is as follows:

327.395 Boating safety identification cards.—
  1. A person born on or after January 1, 1988, may not operate a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater unless such person has in his or her possession aboard the vessel photographic identification and a boater safety identification card issued by the commission which shows that he or she has:
    • Completed a commission-approved boater education course that meets the minimum 8-hour instruction requirement established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators;
    • Passed a course equivalency examination approved by the commission; or
    • Passed a temporary certificate examination developed or approved by the commission.
  2. Any person may obtain a boater safety identification card by complying with the requirements of this section.
  3. Any commission-approved boater education or boater safety course, course-equivalency examination developed or approved by the commission, or temporary certificate examination developed or approved by the commission must include a component regarding diving vessels, awareness of divers in the water, divers-down flags, and the requirements of s. 327.331.
  4. The commission may appoint liveries, marinas, or other persons as its agents to administer the course, course equivalency examination, or temporary certificate examination and issue identification cards under guidelines established by the commission. An agent must charge the $2 examination fee, which must be forwarded to the commission with proof of passage of the examination and may charge and keep a $1 service fee.
  5. An identification card issued to a person who has completed a boating education course or a course equivalency examination is valid for life. A card issued to a person who has passed a temporary certification examination is valid for 12 months from the date of issuance.
  6. A person is exempt from subsection (1) if he or she:
    • Is licensed by the United States Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel.
    • Operates a vessel only on a private lake or pond.
    • Is accompanied in the vessel by a person who is exempt from this section or who holds an identification card in compliance with this section, is 18 years of age or older, and is attendant to the operation of the vessel and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel and for any violation that occurs during the operation of the vessel.
    • Is a nonresident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a boater education course or equivalency examination in another state which meets or exceeds the requirements of subsection (1).
    • Is operating a vessel within 90 days after the purchase of that vessel and has available for inspection aboard that vessel a bill of sale meeting the requirements of s. 328.46(1).
    • Is operating a vessel within 90 days after completing the requirements of paragraph (1)(a) or paragraph (1)(b) and has a photographic identification card and a boater education certificate available for inspection as proof of having completed a boater education course. The boater education certificate must provide, at a minimum, the student’s first and last name, the student’s date of birth, and the date that he or she passed the course examination.
    • Is exempted by rule of the commission.
  7. A person who operates a vessel in violation of subsection (1) commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73.
  8. The commission shall design forms and adopt rules to administer this section. Such rules shall include provision for educational and other public and private entities to offer the course and administer examinations.
  9. The commission shall institute and coordinate a statewide program of boating safety instruction and certification to ensure that boating courses and examinations are available in each county of the state.
  10. The commission is authorized to establish and to collect a $2 examination fee to cover administrative costs.
  11. The commission is authorized to adopt rules pursuant to chapter 120 to implement the provisions of this section.
  12. This section may be cited as the “Osmany ‘Ozzie’ Castellanos Boating Safety Education Act.”

History.—s. 1, ch. 96-187; s. 24, ch. 99-245; s. 13, ch. 2000-362; s. 35, ch. 2005-2; s. 9, ch. 2009-86; s. 2, ch. 2011-152.

Safety in boating is of the utmost importance and a boat is considered a dangerous vehicle according to Florida law. Increasing the chances of accidents are those vessel operators who are intoxicated at the time of an incident. Florida law provides very serious penalties for operating a boat while intoxicated:

327.35 Boating under the influence; penalties; “designated drivers”.—
  1. A person is guilty of the offense of boating under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is operating a vessel within this state and:
    • The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
    • The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
    • The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
    • Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:
      • By a fine of:
        • Not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction.
        • Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a second conviction; and
      • By imprisonment for:
        • Not more than 6 months for a first conviction.
        • Not more than 9 months for a second conviction.
    • Any person who is convicted of a third violation of this section for an offense that occurs within 10 years after a prior conviction for a violation of this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  2. Any person who is convicted of a third violation of this section for an offense that occurs more than 10 years after the date of a prior conviction for a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $2,000 or more than $5,000 and by imprisonment for not more than 12 months.
  3. Any person who is convicted of a fourth or subsequent violation of this section, regardless of when any prior conviction for a violation of this section occurred, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  4. However, the fine imposed for such fourth or subsequent violation may not be less than $2,000.

    Any person:

    • Who is in violation of subsection (1);
    • Who operates a vessel; and
    • Who, by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing:
      1. Damage to the property or person of another commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
      2. Serious bodily injury to another, as defined in s. 327.353, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
      3. The death of any human being commits BUI manslaughter, and commits:
        • A felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
        • A felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if:
          • At the time of the accident, the person knew, or should have known, that the accident occurred; and
          • The person failed to give information and render aid as required by s. 327.30.

    This sub-subparagraph does not require that the person knew that the accident resulted in injury or death.

  5. Any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) and who has a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, or any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) and who at the time of the offense was accompanied in the vessel by a person under the age of 18 years, shall be punished:
    • By a fine of:
      • Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a first conviction.
      • Not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000 for a second conviction.
      • Not less than $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
    • By imprisonment for:
      • Not more than 9 months for a first conviction.
      • Not more than 12 months for a second conviction.

    For the purposes of this subsection, only the instant offense is required to be a violation of subsection (1) by a person who has a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.15 or higher.

  6. In addition to any sentence or fine, the court shall place any offender convicted of violating this section on monthly reporting probation and shall require attendance at a substance abuse course specified by the court; and the agency conducting the course may refer the offender to an authorized service provider for substance abuse evaluation and treatment, in addition to any sentence or fine imposed under this section. The offender shall assume reasonable costs for such education, evaluation, and treatment, with completion of all such education, evaluation, and treatment being a condition of reporting probation. Treatment resulting from a psychosocial evaluation may not be waived without a supporting psychosocial evaluation conducted by an agency appointed by the court and with access to the original evaluation. The offender shall bear the cost of this procedure. The term “substance abuse” means the abuse of alcohol or any substance named or described in Schedules I-V of s.893.03.
  7. With respect to any person convicted of a violation of subsection (1), regardless of any other penalty imposed:
    • For the first conviction, the court shall place the defendant on probation for a period not to exceed 1 year and, as a condition of such probation, shall order the defendant to participate in public service or a community work project for a minimum of 50 hours. The court must also, as a condition of probation, order the impoundment or immobilization of the vessel that was operated by or in the actual control of the defendant or any one vehicle registered in the defendant’s name at the time of impoundment or immobilization, for a period of 10 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 10 days. The impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with the incarceration of the defendant. The impoundment or immobilization order may be dismissed in accordance with paragraph (e) or paragraph (f). The total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.
    • For the second conviction for an offense that occurs within a period of 5 years after the date of a prior conviction for violation of this section, the court shall order imprisonment for not less than 10 days. The court must also, as a condition of probation, order the impoundment or immobilization of the vessel that was operated by or in the actual control of the defendant or any one vehicle registered in the defendant’s name at the time of impoundment or immobilization, for a period of 30 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 30 days. The impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with the incarceration of the defendant. The impoundment or immobilization order may be dismissed in accordance with paragraph (e) or paragraph (f). At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
    • For the third or subsequent conviction for an offense that occurs within a period of 10 years after the date of a prior conviction for violation of this section, the court shall order imprisonment for not less than 30 days. The court must also, as a condition of probation, order the impoundment or immobilization of the vessel that was operated by or in the actual control of the defendant or any one vehicle registered in the defendant’s name at the time of impoundment or immobilization, for a period of 90 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 90 days. The impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with the incarceration of the defendant. The impoundment or immobilization order may be dismissed in accordance with paragraph (e) or paragraph (f). At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
    • The court must at the time of sentencing the defendant issue an order for the impoundment or immobilization of a vessel. Within 7 business days after the date that the court issues the order of impoundment, and once again 30 business days before the actual impoundment or immobilization of the vessel, the clerk of the court must send notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner of each vessel, if the registered owner is a person other than the defendant, and to each person of record claiming a lien against the vessel.
    • A person who owns but was not operating the vessel when the offense occurred may submit to the court a police report indicating that the vessel was stolen at the time of the offense or documentation of having purchased the vessel after the offense was committed from an entity other than the defendant or the defendant’s agent. If the court finds that the vessel was stolen or that the sale was not made to circumvent the order and allow the defendant continued access to the vessel, the order must be dismissed and the owner of the vessel will incur no costs. If the court denies the request to dismiss the order of impoundment or immobilization, the petitioner may request an evidentiary hearing.
    • A person who owns but was not operating the vessel when the offense occurred, and whose vessel was stolen or who purchased the vessel after the offense was committed directly from the defendant or the defendant’s agent, may request an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the impoundment or immobilization should occur. If the court finds that either the vessel was stolen or the purchase was made without knowledge of the offense, that the purchaser had no relationship to the defendant other than through the transaction, and that such purchase would not circumvent the order and allow the defendant continued access to the vessel, the order must be dismissed and the owner of the vessel will incur no costs.
    • All costs and fees for the impoundment or immobilization, including the cost of notification, must be paid by the owner of the vessel or, if the vessel is leased or rented, by the person leasing or renting the vessel, unless the impoundment or immobilization order is dismissed.
    • The person who owns a vessel that is impounded or immobilized under this paragraph, or a person who has a lien of record against such a vessel and who has not requested a review of the impoundment pursuant to paragraph (e) or paragraph (f), may, within 10 days after the date that person has knowledge of the location of the vessel, file a complaint in the county in which the owner resides to determine whether the vessel was wrongfully taken or withheld from the owner or lienholder. Upon the filing of a complaint, the owner or lienholder may have the vessel released by posting with the court a bond or other adequate security equal to the amount of the costs and fees for impoundment or immobilization, including towing or storage, to ensure the payment of the costs and fees if the owner or lienholder does not prevail. When the bond is posted and the fee is paid as set forth in s. 28.24, the clerk of the court shall issue a certificate releasing the vessel. At the time of release, after reasonable inspection, the owner or lienholder must give a receipt to the towing or storage company indicating any loss or damage to the vessel or to the contents of the vessel.
    • A defendant, in the court’s discretion, may be required to serve all or any portion of a term of imprisonment to which the defendant has been sentenced pursuant to this section in a residential alcoholism treatment program or a residential drug abuse treatment program. Any time spent in such a program must be credited by the court toward the term of imprisonment.

    For the purposes of this section, any conviction for a violation of s. 316.193, a previous conviction for the violation of former s. 316.1931, former s. 860.01, or former s. 316.028, or a previous conviction outside this state for driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level, driving with an unlawful breath-alcohol level, or any other similar alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offense, is also considered a previous conviction for violation of this section.

  8. A conviction under this section does not bar any civil suit for damages against the person so convicted.
  9. A person who is arrested for a violation of this section may not be released from custody:
    • Until the person is no longer under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893 and affected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired;
    • Until the person’s blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level is less than 0.05; or
    • Until 8 hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.
  10. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, for any person convicted of a violation of subsection (1), in addition to the fines set forth in subsections (2) and (4), an additional fine of $60 shall be assessed and collected in the same manner as the fines set forth in subsections (2) and (4). All fines collected under this subsection shall be remitted by the clerk of the court to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program Trust Fund and used for the purposes set forth in s. 381.79, after 5 percent is deducted therefrom by the clerk of the court for administrative costs.
  11. It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage boaters to have a “designated driver” who does not consume alcoholic beverages.

History.—s. 2, ch. 59-400; s. 5, ch. 63-105; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 1, ch. 71-81; s. 22, ch. 73-331; s. 5, ch. 83-187; s. 7, ch. 84-188; s. 7, ch. 91-255; s. 8, ch. 93-124; s. 456, ch. 95-148; s. 19, ch. 96-330; s. 98, ch. 97-264; s. 49, ch. 97-271; s. 10, ch. 98-308; s. 14, ch. 98-324; s. 47, ch. 2000-152; s. 11, ch. 2000-320; s. 28, ch. 2001-122; s. 4, ch. 2002-78; s. 6, ch. 2002-263; s. 35, ch. 2008-111; s. 7, ch. 2009-86; s. 6, ch. 2010-161.

Note.—Former s. 371.51.

Further, failure to submit to a breath test:

327.35215 Penalty for failure to submit to test.—
  1. A person who is lawfully arrested for an alleged violation of s. 327.35 and who refuses to submit to a blood test, breath test, or urine test pursuant to s. 327.352 is subject to a civil penalty of $500.
  2. When a person refuses to submit to a blood test, breath test, or urine test pursuant to s. 327.352, a law enforcement officer who is authorized to make arrests for violations of this chapter shall file with the clerk of the court, on a form provided by the department, a certified statement that probable cause existed to arrest the person for a violation of s. 327.35 and that the person refused to submit to a test as required by s. 327.352. Along with the statement, the officer must also submit a sworn statement on a form provided by the department that the person has been advised of both the penalties for failure to submit to the blood, breath, or urine test and the procedure for requesting a hearing.
  3. A person who has been advised of the penalties pursuant to subsection (2) may, within 30 days afterwards, request a hearing before a county court judge. A request for a hearing tolls the period for payment of the civil penalty, and, if assessment of the civil penalty is sustained by the hearing and any subsequent judicial review, the civil penalty must be paid within 30 days after final disposition. The clerk of the court shall notify the department of the final disposition of all actions filed under this section.
  4. It is unlawful for any person who has not paid a civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section, or who has not requested a hearing with respect to the civil penalty, within 30 calendar days after receipt of notice of the civil penalty to operate a vessel upon the waters of this state. Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  5. Moneys collected by the clerk of the court pursuant to this section shall be disposed of in the following manner:
    • If the arresting officer was employed or appointed by a state law enforcement agency, the moneys shall be deposited into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund and used to directly enhance the ability of law enforcement officers to perform law enforcement functions on state waters.
    • If the arresting officer was employed or appointed by a county or municipal law enforcement agency, the moneys shall be deposited into the law enforcement trust fund of that agency.

History.—s. 6, ch. 98-308; s. 23, ch. 99-245; s. 3, ch. 2004-74.

If you have been injured while boating in Florida, you should first call for help. Under Florida law there is a duty to help once there has been a boating accident. The Florida Statute covering a boater’s duty to provide assistance is listed below:

327.30 Collisions, accidents, and casualties.—
  1. It is the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, so far as he or she can do so without serious danger to the operator’s own vessel, crew, and passengers, if any, to render to other persons affected by the collision, accident, or other casualty such assistance as is practicable and necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger caused by the collision, accident, or other casualty, and also to give his or her name, address, and identification of his or her vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, accident, or other casualty. The operator of a vessel involved in an accident with an unattended vessel shall take all reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such vessel of the accident, furnishing to such owner his or her name, address, and registration number and reporting as required under this section.
  2. In the case of collision, accident, or other casualty involving a vessel in or upon or entering into or exiting from the water, including capsizing, collision with another vessel or object, sinking, personal injury requiring medical treatment beyond immediate first aid, death, disappearance of any person from on board under circumstances which indicate the possibility of death or injury, or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000, the operator shall without delay, by the quickest means available give notice of the accident to one of the following agencies: the Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; the sheriff of the county within which the accident occurred; or the police chief of the municipality within which the accident occurred, if applicable.
  3. The statutory duty of a person to make a report or give information to a law enforcement officer making a written report relating to an accident does not extend to information that would violate the privilege of such person against self-incrimination.
  4. Each coroner or other official performing like functions, upon learning of the death of a person in his or her jurisdiction as a result of a boating accident, shall immediately notify the nearest office of the Department of Law Enforcement.
  5. It is unlawful for a person operating a vessel involved in an accident or injury to leave the scene of the accident or injury without giving all possible aid to all persons involved and making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or persons affected and subsequently complying with and notifying the appropriate law enforcement official as required under this section. Any person who violates this subsection with respect to an accident resulting in personal injury commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Any person who violates this subsection with respect to an accident resulting in property damage only commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  6. Any law enforcement officer who investigates a boating collision or accident may arrest or cite the operator of any vessel involved in the accident or collision when, based upon personal investigation, the officer has probable cause to believe that the operator has committed any offense in connection with the accident or collision.

History.—s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 4, ch. 61-511; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 34, ch. 79-65; s. 5, ch. 81-100; s. 24, ch. 87-243; s. 1, ch. 87-392; s. 3, ch. 89-117; s. 44, ch. 91-224; s. 455, ch. 95-148; s. 16, ch. 96-330; s. 41, ch. 97-96; s. 22, ch. 99-245; s. 2, ch. 2003-143.

Note.—Former s. 371.141.

Further, written reports of the boating accident must be reported as follows:

327.301 Written reports of accidents.—
  1. The operator of a vessel that is in any manner involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, forward a written report of the accident to the division. Whenever the operator of the vessel is incapable of making a written report, the owner of the vessel shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, make the report not made by the operator. However, when the investigating officer has made a written report of the accident pursuant to subsection (3), a written report need not be forwarded to the division by the operator.
  2. The division may require any operator of a vessel involved in an accident of which written report must be made as provided in this section to file supplemental written reports whenever the original report is insufficient in the opinion of the division, and may require any witness to the accident to render a report to the division.
  3. Every law enforcement officer who in the regular course of duty investigates a boating accident that resulted in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within 24 hours after completing the investigation, forward a written report of the accident to the division. However, in every case in which an accident report is required by this section and a written report by a law enforcement officer is not prepared, the law enforcement officer shall provide each party involved in the accident a short-form report, prescribed by the division, to be completed by the party. The short-form report must include, but is not limited to: the date, time, and location of the accident; a description of the vessels involved; the names and addresses of the parties involved; the names and addresses of witnesses; and the name, badge number, and law enforcement agency of the officer investigating the accident. Accident reports made by law enforcement officers may not be used for commercial solicitation purposes; however, use of an accident report for purposes of publication in a newspaper or other news periodical or a radio or television broadcast shall not be construed as a “commercial purpose.”
  4. Except as specified in this subsection, each accident report made by a person involved in an accident and any statement made by such person to a law enforcement officer for the purpose of completing an accident report required by this section is without prejudice to the individual reporting. Such report or statement may not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal. However, subject to the applicable rules of evidence, a law enforcement officer who is a witness in a criminal trial may testify as to any statement made to the officer by the person involved in the accident if that person’s privilege against self-incrimination is not violated. The results of breath, urine, and blood tests administered as provided in s. 327.352 or s. 327.353 are not confidential and shall be admissible into evidence in accordance with the provisions of s. 327.354. Accident reports made by persons involved in accidents may not be used for commercial solicitation purposes; however, use of an accident report for purposes of publication in a newspaper or other news periodical or a radio or television broadcast shall not be construed as a “commercial purpose.”
  5. For the purposes of this section, a written report includes a report generated through the use of information technology resources as defined in s. 282.0041.
  6. If the vessel is leased, rented, or chartered at the time of the accident, the person who offered the vessel for lease, rental, or charter shall be responsible for complying with this section and s.327.30.
  7. Any person failing to file the written report required under subsection (1) or a supplemental written report when required by the division under subsection (2) is guilty of a noncriminal infraction.

History.—s. 17, ch. 96-330; s. 48, ch. 2002-1; s. 2, ch. 2004-74.

Liability for negligence or recklessness in a boating accident shall lie with the operator of the vessel who was negligent or reckless, though not with the boat’s owner if the owner was not the driver and was not otherwise negligent or reckless.

327.32 Vessel declared dangerous instrumentality; civil liability.—All vessels, of whatever classification, shall be considered dangerous instrumentalities in this state, and any operator of a vessel shall, during any utilization of the vessel, exercise the highest degree of care in order to prevent injuries to others. Liability for reckless or careless operation of a vessel shall be confined to the operator in immediate charge of the vessel and not imposed upon the owner of the vessel, unless the owner is the operator or is present in the vessel when any injury or damage is occasioned by the reckless or careless operation of such vessel, whether such recklessness or carelessness consists of a violation of the provisions of the statutes of this state, or disregard in observing such care and such operation as the rules of the common law require.

History.—s. 3, ch. 59-400; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 5, ch. 84-188; s. 11, ch. 85-81.

Note.—Former s. 371.52.

Once help has been secured you should contact an attorney to preserve your rights under the Florida boating personal injury laws. If you were the one who caused a boat or jet ski crash you will need an attorney to defend you from personal liability, both civilly and criminally. If you were injured in a boating or jet ski accident, your attorney can assist you in recovering monies for your injuries, lost wages, medical bills, disfiguration and the like.