Home Articles What Are The Statutes Of Limitations For Boating Accidents?

What Are The Statutes Of Limitations For Boating Accidents?


The location of your accident will ultimately determine how long you have to file a claim. Boating, personal watercraft, and/or ship accidents normally fall under the Federal Maritime Law entitled the Admiralty Law. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in the year 2019, there were 961,266 registered water vessels with 65 fatalities and 453 injuries.

Admiralty Law

Admiralty Law governs nautical and private maritime disputes. Admiralty law is comprised of domestic regulations governing maritime activities and private international regulations between private-parties operating ocean sailing ships.

Admiralty law isn’t to be confused with the Law of the Sea that governs navigation rights, mineral rights, coastal jurisdictions, and maritime relations between countries. States are allowed to follow their procedural laws in maritime disputes however Admiralty law takes precedent due to the “reverse-Erie doctrine.”

Boating Accident Locations

Florida state boating laws apply to waters that are contained within the boundaries of the state, but what about those waters shared between states? Many of the rivers, lakes, bays, and the Atlantic Ocean are shared between states therefore Admiralty law holds legal precedence.

Boating Accident Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is how much time you are allowed to file a lawsuit after an accident occurs. The statute of limitations varies on boating accidents in Florida based on the following factors:

  • Boating accidents on waters governed by Florida law have a four-year statute of limitations.
  • Boating accidents on waters governed by Admiralty law have a three-year statute of limitations.
  • Boating accidents that result in wrongful death have a two-year statute of limitations.
  • Boating accidents that occur on a cruise ship statute of limitations are printed on the tickets and typically fall within six months to a year.

Common Boating Accidents

If you’re involved in a boating accident due to the negligence of another party, then you may be entitled to damages. The experienced lawyers Fasig & Brooks can support you in knowing your rights and filing a personal injury claim.

Boating accidents tend to happen in the evenings when the environment and drinking negatively affect safety and judgment. Here are some of the most common negligent boating practices that lead to accidents:

  • Inattention: Operating a boat requires your undivided attention and the weather or unsafe conditions can vary, so it’s important to remain vigilant while commanding a vessel.
  • Failure to follow navigational rules: There are rules in the water like there are common rules of the road and failure to follow these rules could create incidents.
  • Speeding: Operating a vessel on the water brings new hazards and if you’re operating at excessive speeds you may not have enough time to avoid potential hazards, causing an accident.
  • Lookout: If the individual designated to check for hazards is unable to do so, then an accident may occur.
  • Operating a vessel while impaired: Using drugs and alcohol can affect your reaction time and vision, therefore, increasing the likelihood of a crash.
  • Weather: Bad weather can greatly increase your odds of capsizing and waters can become choppy and dangerous. Boat operators must always be mindful of weather conditions.
  • Inexperience: If boaters don’t understand the basics of navigation and threat management, then they could be subdued by unforeseen hazards.

Operating a boating vessel safely has to be a priority for all seaward travelers. Failure to do so could cause an accident, damage property, and seriously harm others.



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