Florida Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer

Majority of Cruise Lines Don’t Hire Lifeguards

Florida Cruise Ship Accident Lawyer

With temperatures dropping and snow falling in many parts of the country, now is the perfect time for a warm-weather getaway. Each year, about 20 million people go on cruise vacations. Most of these people come away with great memories, glowing tans, and plans to do it again next year. Sometimes, though, cruises can take a nasty turn.


In February 2014, a 6-year-old boy drowned on a Norwegian Cruise ship. Just a few months later, another young life was lost on board a Carnival Cruise ship. Thankfully, tragic stories like these are relatively rare. But when swimming on cruise ships, it’s important to remember the risks of cruise ship drowning incidents—however rare—are still real.


Who’s Watching the Kids?


As Fox News recently reported, most major cruise lines, including Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruises, do not have lifeguards onboard their boats. This is in spite of the fact that these cruise ships all have pools—and sometimes even large water parks—onboard, which are often major attractions for young children. In place of lifeguards, these ships rely on posted signs requiring parents to be present when children under 12 are in the pool and warning that no lifeguards are on duty.


Usually, parents are given plenty of notice if a cruise ship does not hire lifeguards. And the “No Lifeguard on Duty” signs are probably familiar to most—plenty of private beaches and pools around the country use this system.


Still, without a trained, professional lifeguard on duty, that means one less set of eyes and one less person nearby with the expertise needed to handle emergencies. Although pools aboard cruise ships are usually relatively shallow, young children can drown in even mere inches of water. With so many children aboard a ship and many people swimming in the pool at once, it can be all too easy to lose sight of a child for a short amount of time, which is sometimes all it takes for tragedies to occur.


How to Keep Your Kids Safe in the Pool


Florida Cruise Ship Accident Attorney

If you’re traveling on a cruise ship with young children this winter, keep in mind the following tips from the American Red Cross:


  1. Maintain constant supervision on your children. If it will help, bring a spouse or a friend along with you to so that you will have an extra pair of eyes in case you need to look away. However, you should be careful not to allow your buddy to become a distraction.
  2. If there’s time before the cruise, enroll your child in swimming lessons.
  3. If your child is young, small, or an inexperienced swimmer, make sure they are wearing proper safety equipment (e.g., life jackets), and there is adult in the pool with them at all times.
  4. Have a clear conversation with your child about the dangers of swimming and establish clear rules about what they are and are not allowed to do in a pool.


Hopefully, parents’ and children’s caution will be enough to ensure that families have nothing but the best, happiest, and safest cruise vacations together.


In the tragic event that pool-related accidents do occur onboard a cruise ship, make sure you know what your options are. Speak with a knowledgeable, qualified legal representative as soon as possible to discuss ways that the responsible parties should be held accountable.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Boat Accident Lawyer

4 Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Florida

Boat Accident Lawyer
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean can be a great way to spend some time with friends or family, as long as you take some safety precautions to keep yourself and everyone else on the boat safe. Unfortunately, boat owners fail to take precautions and end up injuring themselves or others far too often. In 2013 alone, there were 420 reported boating injuries and 62 reported boating fatalities in Florida. In fact, we hold the dubious title of State with the Most Annual Boating Accidents, coming in well ahead of other coastal states such as California and Texas. So what’s causing these boating accidents in our state? Here’s a look at just a few of the most common causes:


1. Inexperienced Boat Operators


Florida isn’t particularly strict when it comes to requirements for operating a personal watercraft. You have to be over the age of 14, and if you were born on or after January 1, 1988, you have to pass a boating safety education class, but that’s about the extent of it. This means that many boat operators lack experience and confidence when it comes to navigating waterways, and their lack of expertise can be particularly dangerous during the warm season, when lots of other boaters set sail. If you want to rent or buy a boat and have limited experience operating one, keep in mind that you can still choose to take a boat education class even if it isn’t legally required. It’s also a good idea to make sure any passengers you plan to take with you are familiar with boat safety rules.


2. Mechanical Failure


Mechanical Failure If you own and operate a boat, it’s your responsibility to perform routine maintenance checks to ensure everything is working before you take it out on the water. When boat owners or rental companies fail to properly inspect vessels, their negligence can result in serious accidents. To ensure safe, worry-free sailing, regularly check the engine, steering, rescue capacity, communication system, and navigational lights (if there’s any chance you’ll be out after dark). If you’re not experienced with boat maintenance, take your vessel to a professional. This is a situation where attempting to limit expenses by skipping the maintenance can cost you dearly. Companies that rent boats have a duty of care to their customers and should be performing regular maintenance checks on all their vessels; however, you should still ask the boating company if the boat you’re renting has recently been inspected. If the boating company assures you that the boat will function perfectly and you later experience a mechanical failure that endangers you and your passengers, you should speak with a boating accident lawyer as soon as possible.


3. Weather


Inclement Weather The weather can change quickly in Florida, and even if the skies look clear when you head out, you may find yourself unexpectedly facing torrential rain or high winds. Inclement weather may be too difficult for a boat operator or even a particular type of vessel to handle, leading to accidents such as a boat capsizing or even sinking. As a boat operator, you should always check the weather forecast in the morning before you head out. If there’s a chance of rain, high winds, or rough seas (for people boating in the ocean), don’t take your boat out. In case the forecast does look good, you should still check your safety equipment ahead of time and be prepared for sudden weather changes.


4. Alcohol


While it might be tempting to crack open a beer or two while you’re out on a boat, you need to stay sober if you’re the driver. The use of alcohol is the single biggest cause of boating accidents, accounting for a third of recreational boating fatalities. Just like driving under the influence, drinking and operating a boat is illegal under federal law. Sadly, not everyone recognizes the risks of operating a boat while drinking—or they assume that they’ll be fine since there’s “less to run into” on water than on roads. However, there are still other boats, jet skis, swimmers, docks, and other obstacles that an impaired boat driver can hit. Drunk boat operators and drunk passengers are also at increased risk for falling overboard and being unable to get the assistance they need.



Cruising : The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A cruise should be a memorable getaway from the daily stressful life, but the dream vacation of many passengers can rapidly turn into a nightmare, as they realize ships are not as unsinkable and safe as they were told. Here we take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly side of cruising, informing passengers on the right course of action in case of accidents or injury.