Boca Bash Boating Accident: Stay Safe on Lake Boca

April 17, 2023

Each year towards the end of April is the Boca Bash, a huge party that, according to the event’s Facebook page, is “(m)ost widely known for it’s (sic) large crowds and tolerance by law enforcement” and is comprised of “thousands of people on boats, rafts, tubes, jet skis, paddle boards, and just about anything else you can manage to float on!” The event is a great success each year, but it is also the cause of a number of boating accidents and other incidents that lead to serious injuries

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating or other watersport accident at the Boca Bash or elsewhere, you may be entitled to bring a claim to collect compensation for the damages linked to your injuries. Speak to a skilled Boca Raton boat accident attorney from the Grife Law Firm to learn more about your options. 

Safety Tips for Boca Bash and Other Florida Water Festivities 

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles discusses the importance of boating safety and education. While the state of Florida does not have a boating license, any person who was born on or after January 1 of 1988 must: 

  • Have completed a National Association of Boating Law Administrations (NASBLA) approved boating education course, or 
  • Have passed an equivalent course or temporary certificate examination 

In addition to this, any individual operating a vessel in Florida must have in their possession a boating education ID card and a photo identification card prior to operating a vessel that has a motor of 10 horsepower or more in Florida. You might not know the size of the vessel of the operator that hit you or whether or not they were intoxicated at the time. Your Boca Raton boat accident lawyer can help collect evidence in support of your case to prove that the other party was liable for the accident. 

Even temporary visitors to Florida are required to comply with boating safety education requirements. If a non-resident is able to prove that they successfully completed a boater safety course or equivalent exam that either meets or exceeds the minimums in Florida, then a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card is not required. Oftentimes, this will be an equivalent certificate or card from their state of origin. 

Boat Operators Must be Responsible and Follow the Laws of the Water

Like drivers on the road, operators on the water at the Boca Bash and elsewhere have a duty to maintain the safe and responsible operation of their vessels all while minding the safety of others on the water and enjoying themselves. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FLFWC) explains that while there is no age minimum to operate a boat in Florida, all individuals who operate a vessel are under certain obligations when they operate their vehicle. 

Any individual who operates a vessel in Florida: 

  • Is responsible for operating their vessel in a prudent and reasonable manner with regard to other vessel traffic
  • Must follow the posted restrictions
  • Must operate in a manner reasonable given the presence of a divers-down flag 
  • Must be mindful of other circumstances and situations to avoid endangering persons who are outside of the vessel or property 

When a vessel operator engages in any of the above-mentioned actions, they are considered to be legally engaged in the careless operation of a vessel. While this is a non-criminal infraction, it may lead to civil liability for a party that engages in the activity if they cause an accident. 

For example, if a boat operator is engaging in reckless driving while intoxicated and they cause an accident that injures you or a loved one, they will likely be held liable for the damages that result from the accident. Damages generally include but are not limited to short- and long-term medical bills, lost wages and earnings, in addition to pain and suffering. 

It is Illegal to Boat While Under the Influence (BUI) in Florida

Operating a vessel while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is illegal, and when an operator causes an accident while they are breaking the law, they will be liable for the damages that result. The penalties for BUI as detailed by Florida Statute 327.35, are as follows: 

  • A person who is found guilty of the offense of boating under the influence is subject to a fine of no less than $500, or more than $1,000, for the first conviction 
  • For a second conviction, a fine of no less than $1,000 and no more than $2,000 
  • Imprisonment of no more than 6 months for the first offense and not more than 9 months for the second conviction 

Additional violations beyond the second can result in significantly greater penalties for the guilty party. A guilty finding for an offense of BUI can help provide support for your claim to recover compensation for the injuries that resulted from the accident that the individual caused. 

Connect with a Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident at Boca Bash or another waterway in Florida, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the costs and damages associated with your injuries. The time to reach out is as soon as possible after you have received emergency medical care for any injuries that require immediate medical attention. From there, your Boca Raton boat accident lawyer will take over the process, handling your claim or case every step of the way so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. 

To learn how The Grife Law Firm can help with your boat accident injuries, give us a call at 561-998-0770, or visit our site to schedule a consultation.