NAUTICAL LOG was away for the Independence Day weekend only to return to South Florida on Sunday evening to learn of a horrendous boating accident on Friday July 04, 2014 night in Biscayne Bay. According to the "Miami Herald", (from which NAUTICAL LOG is taking the story) the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and United States Coast Guard (USCG) three boats came into collision resulting in the deaths of four (4) adults and injuries to nine (9) other persons one of whom is in a coma and the others with critical to minor injuries. Fortunately two children involved one five (5) years old and the other two (2) years old are both uninjured.
The FWC is the State of Florida inland and part-offshore water law enforcement agency, of course the USCG is the Federal law enforcement agency and part of U.S. Homeland Security. All were involved in the water rescues passing over the victims to Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue for further medical assistance and transportation to local hospitals. A full investigation into the cause of the accident which occurred at 2240 (10.40 PM) is underway as well as an accident reconstruction.
This morning Monday July 07, 2014 again from the "Miami Herald" the results of the FWC investigation and accident reconstruction have been published. It started with a 32-foot Contender center-console with five (5) persons, three (3) of whom died, on board the other two (2) being critically injured. The boat a 32-foot they hit had eight (8) persons on board, one (1) of whom was killed, included two children who were uninjured. Spinning out of control they hit a third boat a 35-foot boat Boston Whaler which had eight (8) persons on board uninjured except for one (1) of whom had a laceration. The accident occurred three miles south of Rickenbacker Causeway in Biscayne Bay.
NAUTICAL LOG notes that so far there is no information from the FWC regarding the following:
- whether lifejackets were worn particularly by the children in those boats
- whether the boat operators were licensed by the USCG
- any other boating qualifications of the boat operators involved
- the boat handling skills of the boat operators involved
- knowledge of the Nautical Rules of the Road of the boat operators
- was alcohol or drug use involved (there is a waterfront gossip report alcohol was in the boat that caused the accident)
The following data is from the FWC Boating Accidents Statistical Report 2013:
- Florida leads the Nation with a total of 896,632 registered vessels. In 2013 there were736 reportable boating accidents, resulting in 420 injuries. The rate of injury was 47 injuries per 1000,000 vessels.
- May was the month with the highest numbe5r of accidents.
- Miami-Dade County reported the highest number of accidents and injuries (104 accidents with 4 fatalities and 50 injuries.
FLORIDA BOATING FATALITIES
- The total fatality count for 2013was 62
- The deadliest month in 2013 was December with 12 fatalities
- Percentage of boating fatalities where alcohol or drug-use played a role was 15%
- Nearly half of all fatal accidents in 2013 involved vessels 16 feet or less in length.
Boat Safe and Always Wear a Lifejacket