When is a Florida Charter Boat Company Liable for Guest Injuries?
At MLG Injury, our Florida boat accident attorneys know that last year there were nearly 959,000 boats registered throughout the state and that many belonged to charter companies that provide visitors and locals with the opportunity to experience our waterways without the expense of owning their own boat.
Charter boat companies come in all types, including fishing, scuba and snorkeling, tours, and ferries. They also come in multiple varieties, including those that include a captain, crew, or both, and others that can be rented without either.
Depending on the type of boat and the circumstances in which the injuries occurred, different parties or a combination of parties may potentially be liable for the wellbeing of those on board.
Here is what you need to know about how boat ownership and/or operation determines liability.
Understanding Boat Ownership, Operation, and Liability
People charter or rent boats in Florida for a myriad of reasons, including fishing, snorkeling, or just for a day of sun and fun.
When they charter a boat that has a captain and crew, those individuals are responsible for the operation of the vessel throughout the rented period.
During these trips, the charter boat owner, captain, and crew members all have some level of responsibility for keeping passengers safe.
The boat’s owner must ensure the vessel is seaworthy, equipped with everything necessary to make it safe, including life jackets and safety instructions, and the captain and/or crew are experienced.
The captain and/or crew must never operate the boat overloaded, recklessly, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Should a person suffer injuries on a charter boat, the liability can depend on the type of charter, how the injury occurred, and each of the involved parties and their responsibility, which may include:
- The boat owner
- The captain and crew
- The charter broker
- The charterer
- The guests
The other type of charter boat is referred to as a bareboat.
This is where a guest rents the boat without a captain or crew and is responsible for the boat’s legal and operational obligations often with friends or family members on board.
In these cases, there is a shift from the owner to the charterer in the possession, control, and liability for injuries to third parties.
Handling a boating accident case — chartered or bareboat — is complex and requires legal experience to determine all at-fault parties, so the injured person can pursue the best outcome for their unique case.
Our Florida personal injury lawyers can walk you through your legal rights and options to hold each party accountable for your financial recovery.
Contact Our Skilled Boat Accident Attorneys in Florida for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been injured on a vessel because of someone’s negligence, contact our experienced Florida boat accident lawyers at MLG Injury to schedule a free consultation today by calling (786) 206-8807.
We will outline your complete injury needs and pursue the negligent party that caused your harm, so you can move forward with your recovery with confidence.