Every year the Coast Guard, Florida Marine Patrol, and local law enforcement agencies note a marked increase in injuries and deaths stemming from the negligent and careless operation of marine craft and water recreational vehicles. Ira Leesfield, Chairman of the Resort Torts Section of the American Association of Justice, has written extensively on this topic pointing out “it is not just small water craft but jet ski, parasailing, and small water related activities that are contributing to the high incidents of serious injuries in the Florida keys”. Tourists and visitors from all over the United States and abroad descend on the Florida keys for the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean as well as inland waterways.
The firm of Leesfield Scolaro has promoted water safety and the necessity of regulating parasailing activities which coupled with snorkeling, diving, fishing, and boating are a huge industry for Monroe County residents. Now, there is an added safety fact as cell phone use and texting creep into the prevention and safety issues surrounding water activities that require full concentration.
This firm is now seeing boating collisions where an operator was distracted by cell phone use and in recent years the death of a Key West child was indirectly linked to the boat operator’s cell phone inattention. Unquestionably the news for that weekend will be an unnecessary loss or tragedy which could have been prevented by greater diligence and better enforced navigational rules. The waters surrounding the Florida keys are a majestic natural resource which must be treated with respect. Just recently, we are seeing injuries and deaths related to diving and pool activities including electrocution from water source. Leesfield Scolaro completed a $10 million result for electrocution from a faulty pool wire. Families must be on the look out and diligent to watch their young children in any water related environment. Hotels and other forms of lodging must be careful and selective about which vendors they allow to use their facilities for the purpose of water recreation rental.