Florida Teenager Killed in Tragic Late Night Boating Accident
According to a report from The Suncoast News, a 16-year-old girl was killed in a tragic boating accident near Indian Shores, Florida. Authorities believe seven teenagers were on board the boat when the one-vessel crash occurred. The responding police officers told reporters that they are still investigating whether or not alcohol was a factor in the boat accident. Further, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a more comprehensive assessment of the tragic accident.
Juvenile Boat Operator Was Speeding in Dark Conditions
Based on a preliminary investigation, police believe that the teenagers were leaving a party where both alcohol and marijuana was consumed. They contend that between 25 and 40 juveniles were present at the gathering. Notably, law enforcement officers believe that adults were also having a party in an upstairs location at the same residence.
Shortly after midnight, a 16-year-old left the party in his boat, with six other teenagers as passengers. Police believe that he was operating the craft at a high rate of speed and vastly exceeding the “no-wake requirement” in the immediate area. Unfortunately, the boat struck a metal pole in the water and all passengers were ejected. No one was wearing a life jacket. Sadly, the body of one of the passengers was located about a half mile from the crash site and she was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Juvenile Boater Arrested, Faces Criminal Charges
A 16-year-old male was arrested by Pinellas County police and charged with vessel homicide. In Florida, vessel homicide is a felony offense. The charge is filed when a defendant is responsible for a death due to the reckless and criminally negligent operation of a boat or other watercraft. However, police noted that he did not show any immediate signs of impairment.
Boating Can Be Dangerous—Safety is Paramount
Florida consistently leads the nation in boating accident deaths. Approximately 55 people are killed in boat accidents in Florida each year. Many others suffer significant injuries. As boating can be extremely dangerous, it is imperative that all boat operators—both commercial companies and private individuals—take proactive steps to protect themselves and their passengers. With these three relatively simple safety improvements, the majority of boat accident fatalities could be prevented:
- A boat should never be operated by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Boat operators must slow down and comply with all speed regulations; and
- Boat operators must ensure that they have enough life jackets on board.
Collectively, boater intoxication, speed, and lack of adequate safety equipment are cited as factors in more than half of all fatal boat accidents reported in Florida.
Get Help From a Florida Boating Accident Lawyer Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami boat accident attorneys are skilled, reliable advocates for victims and their families. If you or your family member was injured or killed in a boating accident, we can help. Call us now for a free, no obligation consultation. We represent injured victims in West Palm Beach, Miami, and throughout the surrounding region in South Florida.