Four people were injured last Saturday after their boat was rammed from behind by another vessel on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The four have been identified as Andre Neves of Pompano Beach, Juliana Da Costa Maria of Boca Raton, and William and Evelyn Rountree of Boca Raton.
Neves, 37, and Maria, 29, were critically injured, and the Rountrees sustained non life-threatening injuries. They were all taken to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the crash happened at around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night behind a bar north of East Oakland Park Boulevard. Neves was piloting a 22-foot Twin Vee when Max Irvine of Deerfield Beach collided into his boat.
Irvine, 36, was operating a 31-foot catamaran with a passenger identified as Amanda Macke of Fort Lauderdale. They were not injured in the collision.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue official Timothy Heiser told news sources that the boaters knew each other and were traveling together. Investigators believe that the Irvine’s catamaran crashed into the other boat because it had slowed down. The investigation is still ongoing.
Two other boating incidents reported in Miami-Dade County over the weekend. On Sunday, a boat carrying three children and an adult exploded in Black Point Marina at around 8:30 a.m. Two of the children were flown to trauma centers and the other victims were taken to a hospital by ambulance. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
To avoid such disasters, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesperson Erika Benitez recommended that boaters perform thorough safety checks before leaving the dock. These safety precautions include removing sources of ignition, opening hatches to increase airflow and let out ignitable fumes, and making sure to have Coast Guard-approved safety equipment.
The other weekend boating accident took place on Sunday afternoon. Two women and a man were injured when a personal watercraft crashed into their boat near Sea Isle Marina. They were taken to Jackson Ryder Trauma Center for treatment. Their identities and condition have not been released.
According to Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll, the man and one of the women were operating a jet ski in the water at the moment of impact, and the third victim was on the boat. He encouraged boaters to use good judgment and be careful of their surroundings. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
All three accidents occurred on a weekend that marks the beginning of Florida’s Safe Boating Week, which was scheduled to coincide with National Safe Boating Week by Gov. Rick Scott.
According to statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 714 boating accidents, which resulted in 67 deaths, were reported in Florida in 2016. The commission advises all boaters heading out to water to wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets, designate a sober boat operator, be prepared for any changes in weather conditions, and get educated about the state’s current boating safety education law.