Yesterday, a boating accident occured on Black Creek in Clay County, Florida, when the operator of the boat left the boat’s steering and throttle controls to pump the boat’s fuel bulb. The boat struck a tree or tree limb which was several feet above the water near the shore of the creek.
Two teenagers, both from Middleburg, died at the scene from what has been reported to be blunt force trauma to the head. The operator of the boat, a 49 year old man, was taken to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating this boating accident.
It seems that every year we have a boating accident with one or more fatalities in the Jacksonville area. Jacksonville is an area with a lot of waterways and a lot of boats on the water. As it stands, in the State of Florida only persons born after January 1, 1988, are required to obtain a Boating Safety Education Id card. To obtain the card requires attending a boating safety course. The operator in this boat accident was born before that time and, thus, was not required to obtain the license.
Another tragic boating accident happened in April of 2009 on the Intracoastal Waterway in the Ponte Vedra area, in which there were multiple fatalities. The boat involved in that accident struck a residential dock. The operator of that boat was a woman in her early 40’s that had little or no boating experience. Despite her lack of experience, because of her age, she was exempt from the safety course requirement.
The age limit for requiring the safety course is arbitrary and does not reflect on a person’s knowledge of boating safety. Perhaps it is time for the State of Florida to require all persons operating a boat to complete a boating safety course.
If you need to consult with a Boating accident attorney or law firm in the Jacksonville area including Duval, St. Johns, Clay, and Nassau Counties, please contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.