Articles Posted in Boat Accidents

Published on:

According to the Parasailing Safety Council (PSC) more than three to five million people each year enjoy the sport of parasailing. The ride normally lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.

A day of fun on the water can quickly turn into a terrifying experience which can and has resulted in serious or catastrophic injuries and even death. Since 1998, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has reported that Florida has had 26 parasailing accidents that have resulted in 35 injuries and six deaths.

Yet the industry is allowed to operate following what they deem as “best practices” that are outside the bounds of any federal or state government oversight. They follow the minimum of safety standards, which are often voluntary and the quality levels vary. Their industry is virtually unregulated.

Published on:

A Miami, Florida boat accident claimed the life of a 27 year old Miami man Sunday evening when his personal water craft struck a 22 foot boat in Biscayne Bay. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers are investigating the fatal boating accident in Biscayne Bay. It has not yet been determined if alcohol was involved. Miami, FL product liability lawyers know that accidents like this are usually caused by operator error or a defective product like a personal water craft that was designed without navigation lights.

FWC spokesman, Jorge Pino said that investigators think 27-year-old Carlos Alberto Fernandez, who died after his personal watercraft crashed into a boat, was going too fast in a slow-speed area and was violating the law which prohibits operating a personal watercraft at night. Fernandez was riding a black Yamaha personal watercraft on the bay when the fatal collision occurred. His friend, Jose Luis Moreno, who was also operating another watercraft nearby called for help. Fernandez, who was pronounced dead on the scene, leaves behind a wife and children.

“It’s hard enough to spot a vessel with navigational lights and proper safety equipment,” Pino said. “Now you have a black personal watercraft at night at a high rate of speed. It’s just a recipe for disaster.”

Pino stressed how important it is for boaters and those engaged in water sports to abide by safety rules. Florida has the more registered vessels than any other state in the country and reported 742 boating accidents in 2011. 22 percent of those involved some type of personal watercraft.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Miami, Florida — Laurie Dishman, a 37-year-old food services manager from Sacramento, wants people to know that cruise ships are not always as safe as advertised. She knows firsthand how crime on board cruise ships can effect passengers. She recently took a therapeutic trip to the Port of Miami to face her fears.

It was the first time she had been around cruise ships since 2006, when she was raped on a cruise by one of the ship’s janitors. When she reported the incident, she was appalled when the crew responded by telling her that she needed to control her drinking. So on her recent visit back to Miami’s port, one of the busiest ports in the nation, she handed out hundreds of pamphlets to people as they began their vacations, warning them of the dangers on board cruise ships.

”There are no laws out there,” Dishman said in an interview. “All kinds of things can happen on this floating city in the middle of the ocean, and there’s no security. There’s no protection. You think you have American rights when you board a ship, but you don’t.”

The industry says that American travelers are safer on cruise ships than they are on land and that no regulatory changes are needed.

Dishman disagrees and is hopeful that her message will lead to a new federal law to protect passengers. When Congress returns from its summer recess, she and other crime victims plan to lobby for regulations that would change the way the cruise industry does business.

Because under current law, cruise ships aren’t required to report even the most serious crimes that are committed in international waters, critics say that immediate changes are necessary to protect passengers .

Congress is considering legislation that would require cruise ships to keep logs of all deaths, missing individuals, allegations of criminal conduct and passenger complaints of theft, sexual harassment and assault. Those logs would be made available to law enforcement including the FBI and the Coast Guard.

”Twelve million Americans will board cruise ships this year, and they should know they are safe,” said Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. He is working with Representative Doris Matsui of Sacramento to support the proposed legislation.

Matsui said that she began investigating the issue after Dishman first contacted her, frustrated because Royal Caribbean would not help her identify her attacker or secure evidence after the rape.

According to Congresswoman Matsui, her investigation revealed that there have been no rape convictions on cruise lines in 40 years.

”What we have found is truly alarming,” Matsui said. “There is little to no regulation of the cruise industry, and far too many crimes go unprosecuted each year.”

Representatives of the Cruise Lines International Association pointed out that the industry creates thousands of jobs and claims to have improved its safety procedures over the past two years.

Senator Kerry got involved with cruise ship safety issues when Merrian Carver of Cambridge, Mass., disappeared on a cruise in 2004. Kerry said he was shocked to learn that cruise line employees didn’t tell the FBI she was missing until weeks later, when her family started asking questions.

”Merrian’s story is not an isolated case,” Kerry said. “Despite being owned by American citizens and headquartered in the United States, cruise ships operate under foreign flags, allowing them to avoid United States law when they are beyond U.S. territorial waters. With respect to jurisdiction over crimes, the law is murky at best.”
Continue reading →