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Florida Boat Accident Sends Passengers Overboard, Resulting In Injuries & Death


It’s the last thing anyone imagines happening when they set out one evening on Florida waters: a boat catching on fire, and forcing everyone on it to jump overboard or risk severe injuries and even death.

Sadly, on January 14th, that’s exactly what happened: one boat accident left passengers fleeing into frigid waters with injuries, ultimately resulting in death for one.  While some 50 passengers safely made it to shore—some being hospitalized after suffering from chest pain and smoke inhalation—one woman died later that night at the emergency room.

Casino Boat Bursts Into Flames

The vessel was reportedly a shuttle boat making its way to a casino ship that was offshore. While the incident is still being investigated, it is known that the boat started experiencing engine problems soon after leaving the dock, with some reports indicating that engine trouble was suspected days or longer prior to the incident. Passengers had to jump 12 feet into shallow water to escape, and risked hypothermia with temperatures around 38 degrees that night. Some have speculated that, had the shuttle made it out an additional quarter-mile, an even bigger tragedy would have resulted, with other passengers unable to make it to shore.

Preventing Boat Fires

Maintaining and ensuring that boats are safe for those on them is an essential part of avoiding negligent activity that could get others injured or killed on them. According to some sources, most fires on boats start in very specific places—such as the engine compartment—necessitating that maintaining boat electrical and fuel systems is especially important. If every boat owner paid attention to five fairly crucial things, a third or more of all boat fires could be prevented. Those include:

  • Off-boat sources, such as marinas, storage facilities, houses, garages, barns, and nearby structures;
  • Wiring harnesses and starters;
  • Loose battery connections, chafed battery cables, and aged battery switches;
  • Operator-error: reversing battery cables or connecting them incorrectly in series or parallel, etc.;
  • AC electrical;
  • Any interruption of cooling water, leading to overheating of the engine, or impeller failures due to age or sediment. Impellers should be changed at least every other year; and
  • Voltage regulators (on older outboards)—regulators should be replaced if an outboard is 15 years or older.

Whether or not an engine is an inboard or outboard, fires on boats tend to occur most frequently around the engine.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Boat Accident Attorneys

Friedland & Associates helps boating accident victims obtain the compensation and medical coverage they need in order to recover from a terrible incident that was the result of someone else’s negligence. Contact us today to find out how we can help you and your family.


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