Graduation for many people is a much anticipated and celebrated time. Many recent graduates, both high school and college, go out and celebrate, occasionally in grand fashion. Some go out with friends or with family to do something fun or relaxing. Unfortunately, sometimes, these activities can go awry. Last summer, a graduate of the University of Miami in Florida suffered a fatal personal injury in an air-boating accident the day after her graduation, and her death could spark major changes to airboating regulations.

Currently, all airboat operators must abide by federal laws when they are operating on waterways that a ship or boat could also operate on. However, they are only required to abide by state laws when operating in the Everglades or in landlocked bodies of water. Not all boat operators are required to take safety courses either. If a person was born before Jan. 1, 1988, he or she may operate an airboat without completing any boating safety courses.

The new bill that has been proposed, SB 1612, is pushing for several changes to these regulations. One of the biggest changes is that airboat operators would be required to carry a photo ID and proof that they completed an airboat operator and CPR/first aid course. Individuals born before Jan. 1, 1988 would also need to carry proof that they completed a boating safety course unless they were issued a captain’s license by the U.S. Coast Guard. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in a non-criminal infraction and a $500 fine. 

This bill could possibly help to prevent many future airboating accidents. However, Florida residents who have been involved in an accident resulting in personal injury could benefit from consulting with an attorney. Victims of these accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, property damages or funeral costs if the accident was the direct cause of a fatality. 

Source: sun-sentinel.com, “Death of UM grad prompts lawmakers to consider airboat regulations“, Dan Sweeney, Jan. 22, 2018