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Alcohol a Factor After Boat Captain Found Guilty of Manslaughter


A boat captain has been found guilty of vessel homicide in a case that took the life of a 56-year-old man from New York. According to the details of the case, the victim was operating a Yamaha personal watercraft when the larger vessel overtook him and traveled over his boat at a high rate of speed. The incident occurred in a slow wake zone. The larger vessel traveled over the top of the smaller one causing severe injury to the boat’s operator. The 56-year-old man was pronounced dead by deputies at the scene.

A Florida jury convicted the larger boat’s captain of causing death while negligently operating his boat. The vessel was traveling at 73 mph in a slow wake zone. Deputies discovered that the larger boat’s operator had been drinking at the time of the accident. The larger boat rear-ended the smaller boat and then traveled over the top of it. The victim’s arm was severed in the process and he suffered a skull fracture.

Liability in this boating accident 

The victim’s family would be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the boat captain and any company he may have worked for. The standard of proof in a criminal case is higher than that of a personal injury lawsuit. That means that the plaintiffs have already established negligence under a higher standard of proof. All that would be left for a jury or the courts to decide is damages.

When alcohol is a factor in boating accidents, you can file a lawsuit against the operator of the boat or captain and any company that they may represent. Alcohol and boating do not go together. Serious injury and death can result from the negligent operation of a boat. In this case, it’s unclear if the family filed a personal injury lawsuit against the boat captain or not. In some cases, it may not be worthwhile to file a lawsuit because the one responsible for the accident may not have the money to pay out the personal injury claim. In this case, the claim would be for wrongful death, so settlements could go into the millions. Because alcohol was a factor, punitive damages may be awarded to the victim’s family.

The boat captain initially faced charges for BUI manslaughter, vessel homicide, child neglect, and reckless operation of a vessel. He was convicted of vessel homicide. He has yet to be sentenced.

The defendant in this case has limited options at his disposal to fight a personal injury judgment. His vessel was speeding in a slow wake zone when the accident occurred. He was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. He somehow rode his boat directly over another boat. There’s not much you can say when you cause a tragic accident. Negligence is a simple matter to establish.

Talk to a Miami Boat Accident Lawyer Today 

If you have been injured in a boating accident, call Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost income, and decreased quality of life.



  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
  • American Association for Justice

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Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
44 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Toll Free: 866-473-2636
Phone: 305-539-1999
Fax: 305-539-1998