In truth, when people who live in landlocked areas first hear about a boat fire, it seems a touch ironic. After all, we're talking about fire surrounded by water, two elements that don't tend to coexist. However, boating fires are a very real danger. When a boat fire is the result of someone else's negligence (for example, a manufacturer, owner, operator, or maintenance provider), and it leaves victims injured and/or families grieving, the victims may be entitled to compensation. Our legal team works with boat fire victims to bring personal injury and/or wrongful death claims that help make this compensation a reality.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard (specifically Table 16 in Recreational Boating Statistics 2012), fires (both fuel and non-fuel related) were the primary cause for 264 boating accidents during 2012. These blazes left 5 people dead, 99 victims injured, and caused over $12 million in property damage.
Earlier this week, a boat fire struck a vessel in Panama City Beach. As WJHG reported, the incident occurred behind a Weakfish Way home in the Bay Point Marina. Witnesses report that the fire pretty much destroyed the vessel. The report did not mention any victims. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Seaworthy is a report created by the Boat Owners Association of the United States ("BoatUS"), an organization that provides information and support to people in the recreational boating community. The Seaworthy reports analyze insurance claims to eventually provide recommendations on accident prevention. In a Seaworthy piece titled "Why Boats Catch Fire," the group notes that in a house fire, you can run to a neighbor's home; you don't have the same options on a boat. The only exit option is going overboard, which violates one of the Association's main rules of boating: keep water outside the boat & stay with the vessel. BoatUS also utilizes fire-related marine insurance claims to draw conclusions about accident causes. The leading causes of fires that start on-board boats, per BoatUS, are:
When a boating fire causes injury or claims a life, and the tragedy can be traced to someone else's negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation. At-fault parties in these cases can include, but are not limited to: 1) manufacturers who produce a shoddy and unsafe product (i.e. a boat, motor, etc.), 2) maintenance and repair personnel, and 3) rental companies that do not provide proper safety equipment. In some cases, there may be multiple at-fault parties, such as when a fire starts because of a faulty fuel tank and is then exacerbated because a rental company did not provide a fire extinguisher.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a boat fire in Northwest Florida and you suspect someone else was to blame, call us. We can help you investigate the facts, understand the laws, and obtain money damages from the responsible parties.