Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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Cruise Lines Finally Start Using Lifeguards…After Many Deaths and Injuries

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Cruise ships have seen many drownings and near-drownings of children in recent years. Virtually none of the major cruise lines would place lifeguards on their ships…until now.

According to The Miami Herald and New Times, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines have installed lifeguards on most of its ships.  This is in response to at least a dozen drownings or catastrophic pool accidents in cruise ship pools in the past few years.

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Vacations can be the greatest of times…or can leave tourists injured or killed. Resorts, cruise ships and hotels present a range of hazards to even the most seasoned travelers. As an experienced resort and vacation injury lawyer, John Leighton has litigated and tried many cases involving injury and death to travelers. In the latest issue of the South Florida Legal Guide, Mr. Leighton published 10 life-saving tips to help avoid a tragic vacation scenario:

Ten Tips to Avoid a Deadly Vacation:

Surviving Resorts, Cruise Ships & Hotels is No Accident

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For the first time ever, Florida’s parasailing businesses have to comply with safety regulations.

Florida Statute 327.02 (“Miskell-White Act”) requires commercial parasailing operators to log weather conditions before beginning each parasailing, forbids operations during hazardous weather conditions, and requires operators to be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. It also requires minimum liability insurance, which has plagued this industry where fly-by-night operators opened and closed their businesses at will. Previously this was a completely unregulated industry where anyone with a boat, tow rope and parachute could charge money to take people aloft under any conditions.

John Leighton and our client Shannon Kraus (mother of Amber May White) fought tirelessly for seven years to see this law come to fruition. It is a result of almost yearly tragedies that have occurred during parasailing activities in Florida. In 2007, Shannon lost her 15 year-old daughter Amber May White, for which the new law is named. Amber May’s tragedy just foreshadowed years of repetitive injuries and deaths until Florida’s legislature finally took action.

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Our client’s daughter was tragically killed while on a boat driven by a drunk boater. This man is now doing prison time and is seen in this short video. But his incarceration will never bring back this amazing young woman.

Drunk boating is the number one contributing cause of boating deaths. Despite recovering a substantial settlement for our clients, they will never have their daughter back. Be smart when you boat or get on a boat with others. Don’t learn the hard way. View the public service clip at http://vimeo.com/94222554

We continue to represent victims of boating accidents and cruise ship injuries. Summertime is a busy boating season. Make sure you and your family are not victims of BUI. Think before you drink or get on a vessel with someone who has. http://leightonlaw.com/boating-cruise-ships-and-maritime-accidents/

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Despite passage of the nation’s first law regulating parasailing, many who operate parasailing businesses still care more about cash than lives. The law, which goes into effect October 1, limits when parasailing can take place, the wind speeds and when there is lightning within 7 miles. Operators must review all weather forecasts available and keep a weather log.

Over the July 4th weekend the waters of South Florida were replete with instances of parasailing which violates the spirit and letter of the impending new law. The example here, from Miami’s Biscayne Bay, make it obvious that the operators are more interested in making money than in protecting vacationers. With threatening skies, high wind gusts and frequent lightning, there were few pleasure craft in the water on July 5th. But sure enough there were plenty of parasailing operations!

VACATION TIP: Never get on a parasailing operation without checking the weather, determining that the operator holds a Coast Guard license for transport of passengers, maintains a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance, maintains a VHF transceiver and a separate marine weather device providing National Weather Service updates and maintains a log of all weather prior to taking passengers out. Make sure that the operator is familiar with and complies with new Florida statute 327.375 governing commercial parasailing, also known as the White-Miskell Act.

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Shannon Kraus is a mother on a mission. Seven years after the death of her 15 year-old daughter and a brain injury to her 17 year-old, Shannon has succeeded in getting some measure of parasailing regulation passed in Florida.

Working with her attorney, John Leighton of Leighton Law, P.A., and countless hours of meetings with state and local legislators, plus continued parasailing injuries and deaths each year, the Florida Legislature finally passed a law to regulate parasailing safety:

http://www.actionhub.com/news/2014/06/24/florida-governor-signs-parasailing-bill-law/

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In what can only be characterized as a repeat tragedy in South Florida, 28 year-old Kathleen Miskell of Connecticut was killed while riding a parasail off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida yesterday. While her husband watched helplessly from the tandem parasail in which they were strapped, the harness holding Kathleen failed, throwing her 200 feet to the water. Ms. Miskell was pronounced dead at North Broward Medical Center a short time later.

This tragic death falls almost on the anniversary of the double tragedy involving 15 year-old Amber May White and her 16 year-old sister Crystal in 2007. Amber May was killed and Crystal suffered a severe head injury when the parasail on which they were riding disconnected from its line, throwing them into a building. This too occurred in Pompano Beach.

Mrs. Miskell died while aboard a Wave Blast Water Sports parasailing operation. The ride was operated out of the Sands Hotel in Pompano Beach. This took place by the Hillsboro Inlet.

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Titanic.jpgONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, in April 1912, the legendary RMS Titanic capped off its maiden voyage by colliding with an iceberg and sinking into the Atlantic Ocean. More than 1,500 people were killed and the tragedy was named one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

You’d think that 100 years later, with advances in technological precision that mariners of days past could hardly have dreamed of, cruising would have become a much safer vacation option for tourists, and that preventable cruise ship disasters would be left behind with the bygone era.

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That’s the question many skeptical vacationers are asking themselves these days, with all the cruise ship safety issues surfacing this year. From norovirus to shipwreck and onboard fire, the cruise industry is now under tough scrutiny.

This week, its leaders gather in Miami for the 28th annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference, along with 1,000 exhibiting companies and around 11,000 attendees from 110 countries.

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Cruise ship at port.jpgThe Costa Concordia shipwreck tragedy in the Mediterranean has sparked a review of safety standards on cruise ships. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced in a press release that it will conduct a hearing in February to review cruise ship safety including operating standards and crew training requirements.

Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) said in the release that “The Costa Concordia tragedy is a wakeup call for the United States and international maritime organizations to carefully review and make certain we have in place all appropriate standards to ensure passengers’ safety on cruise ships.” He said that “The Committee will review the events of this specific incident, current safety measures and training requirements set by law and international maritime transportation agreements to ensure this mode of transportation remains as safe as possible.”