If you have a boat or vessel in the state of Florida, you’d better make sure it’s still in pretty good condition. A new law signed earlier this summer allows law enforcement officials to fine you for having a boat deemed to be “at-risk.”
But what exactly does that mean?
Understanding the Definition of an “At-Risk” Boat in Florida
Previously, law enforcement could only take action against a boat’s owner for having a boat deemed to be “derelict.”
This meant that the boat had probably been neglected or abandoned and was in a concerning state of disrepair or sinking to the bottom of the water. Now, to alleviate the “plague” of derelict boats that Florida has been faced with the past few years, the owners of “at-risk” vessels will be fined.
“The vessel is taking on or has taken on water without an effective means to dewater.
Spaces on the vessel that are designed to be enclosed are incapable of being sealed off or remain open to the elements for extended periods of time.
The vessel has broken loose or is danger of breaking loose from its anchor.
The vessel is left or stored aground unattended in such a state that would prevent the vessel from getting underway, is listing due to water intrusion, or is sunk or partially sunk.”
Basically, any boat on its way to becoming derelict is considered “at-risk.” If you are caught having an “at-risk” boat, you will be fined $50 and given 30 days to clean up or repair your vessel. After the 30 days, you may be fined $100 for a second offense. For every 30 days after your second offense, you may be fined another $250.
What If You Can’t Take Care of Your Boat?
It’s not uncommon for a boat owner who cannot sustain their boat to abandon or leave a boat in a state of disrepair. Especially in recent years, when things have been particularly tough for a lot of people.
If you do not do this and the new owner neglects the boat, causing it to be labeled “at-risk” or “derelict,” you may find yourself strapped with the fines and consequences that should have been assigned to the new owner.
The Costs and Risks of “At-Risk” Boats
Even as a boat owner who takes the utmost care of his or her vessel, at-risk and derelict boats should still be a concern when you are out on the waterways, and not just because they make an eyesore out of the water that you are trying to sail or relax on.
First things first, removing derelict vessels can be extremely costly. When a recreational vessel has to be removed, many states have money set aside from boating membership fees to cover the costs.
If you paid a small fee to Derelict Vessel Funds or something similar, that’s where your money is going: to clean up for some other owner’s mess. However, commercial and former military vessels have also become derelict, and the removal of those vessels is more costly (with less money set aside to pay for it).
The more vessels that have been sunk, the more money out of responsible boaters’ and nature conversation organizations’ pockets.
But removing these vessels needs to be done to provide safe, navigable waterways for other boaters. Abandoning a vessel and all of her resources poses a risk for marine life, the waters and natural resources it sits near, and other boaters.
Think about all of the chemicals and oil that you keep onboard to power or clean your boat. Now imagine all of those chemicals and oil sinking into the water. Abandoned nets and gear can also cause damage to fish and other marine life.
Another problem with derelict or sunken ships is the navigation hazards they become for other boaters. Sunken vessels are a navigational obstruction, but other boat owners may not always be aware of the shipwreck’s presence. Hitting or trying to avoid these shipwrecks could cause a boating accident and do even more damage to either vessel.
If you have been the victim of a boating accident due to a derelict vessel, you may be entitled to compensation from the owners of the derelict vessel or the organization in charge of keeping waterways safe and free of pollution.
For more information on how you can recover the losses from any type of boating accident or accident on the water, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 15-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, 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.
Although parking lot crashes are rarely high-speed, they do happen – a lot of them. Moreover, parking lot accidents often result in expensive repair bills and insurance increases. A parking lot crash can also cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially if pedestrians are involved. Below we’re going to break down how parking lot auto [..]
Consumer products regulations ensure that most products on the market are safe for their intended use. However, some consumer products companies push the boundaries of regulations or cut corners in the design or manufacturing process, which can lead to dangerous defective products reaching US consumers. When consumers are injured by a defective product, it may [..]
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence, and it can take many different forms. For example, it may be based on a negligent action that the doctor took, or conversely, on something the doctor failed to do. However, in order to successfully hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice, you must be able [..]
Florida policyholders purchase insurance and pay premiums with the understanding that – should disaster strike – their insurer will pay out damages to compensate for losses covered in the policy. That’s the whole point of insurance! Paying out covered damages is considered to be acting in good faith on the part of the insurance company. [..]
As your teen approaches their 15th birthday, they have an exciting opportunity – the ability to get their learner’s permit. The Florida learner’s permit allows residents to start the journey toward driving – and freedom! However, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman (say it with us), “With great power comes great responsibility.” [..]
As a parent, you care about your child and you look out for their well-being. However, you may not be aware of which types of injuries occur the most often for Florida kids, and that’s something that can be the difference between avoiding an accident and spending time in the hospital. Children are treated every [..]
The holidays are just around the corner, and many Floridians are looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with colorful decorations and fun family activities. However, the holidays also carry an increased risk of many kinds of injuries. On their own, holiday decorations are responsible for about 15,000 injuries annually. You probably know to [..]
Not sure which car seat is right for your child? You have an important job as a parent—providing a safe experience for your child while he or she is riding in a vehicle. Thousands of children are injured or killed in Florida car crashes each year, and the right car seat can protect your child [..]
Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. You want to jump. You want to scream. You want to be nervous about turning the next corner. What do you not want? To get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Michigan woman in 2014. She visited the haunted house as a patron, and a moving [..]
Every day, Florida pedestrians are injured by car drivers. Some injuries are minor, yet some can be life-threatening. In this post, we’ll tell you the types of injuries you can expect if you get hit by a car, and what you can do to fight back and get the compensation you need and deserve. Stats [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
The recent death of a Tampa couple is an example of what might have been a potential product liability lawsuit had they lived. On Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and Michelle Livingston were traveling home from a visit to south Florida. Reports indicate that their sport utility vehicle drove into the waters of a canal along [..]
This law firm helped me with my car accident case and helped me to get the most of the medical benefits that were needed after the accident, and gave me fair and helpful expectations on what I would recieve back for the pain and suffering after the accident.