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Top Reasons for Maritime Accidents

Top Reasons for Maritime Accidents

The maritime industry represents one of the most dangerous workplaces. Maritime accidents can easily result in catastrophic or even life-threatening injuries for workers. Below are some of the most frequent causes of maritime accidents. If you have been injured in a maritime accident, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to go over your legal rights and options for financial recovery.

Mechanical Failure

Although equipment aboard vessels is usually designed to be a lot tougher due to the harsh conditions on the water and the stress that equipment is put under while vessels are being operated, much of the equipment used on ships is also rather complex. This makes ships and the equipment aboard them much more prone to mechanical failure. 

Common causes of maritime equipment failure include:

  • Natural causes such as bad weather or heavy seas
  • Design or manufacturing defects
  • Failure to equip protective parts or gear to machinery or equipment
  • Failure to monitor the condition and operation of equipment to notice possible issues
  • Errors in communications among crew or in operating procedures
  • Failure to adequately maintain machinery and equipment

When a ship is not fully functional, it can place the crew on board at risk of a devastating accident, especially if the vessel is already underway.

Operator Errors

Human error causes the majority of maritime accidents. Common causes of operator error include:

  • Inadequate training
  • Fatigue
  • Overexertion/being overworked
  • Lack of experience
  • Drug and/or alcohol intoxication
  • Carelessness/recklessness, including disregarding or taking shortcuts with operational and safety procedures

Lack of training or experience may result in maritime workers not knowing what to do in an emergency or panicking in an emergency situation. And fatigue or overexertion can cause workers to make mistakes or poor decisions while operating a vessel, or to fail to react as quickly as they otherwise might when faced with an emergency or hazard.


Despite the prevalence of modern technology including ship-to-ship communications, radar, and GPS, maritime collisions still occur. Ship collisions most frequently occur in ports and harbors or on crowded shipping lanes in narrow waterways. Ship collisions typically occur due to inexperience of the bridge crew, navigational errors made by the crew, erroneous or reckless decisions made by the captain or watch officer, or malfunctioning equipment such as navigational computers or ship controls

Inadequate Maintenance

Lack of proper maintenance of vessels and their machinery and equipment can easily lead to a maritime disaster. Traveling on the open seas places a lot of wear and tear on ships and their equipment, meaning that crews and ship owners should always stay on top of required and recommended maintenance. Poor maintenance can lead to a wide variety of maritime accidents, such as slip and fall or trip and fall accidents, fires and explosions, crush or entanglement accidents where crewmembers get caught in machinery or equipment, or even vessel sinkings. Unfortunately, maintenance may be missed because crew are overworked and don’t have the time to perform inspections or maintenance, or because vessel owners defer maintenance in an effort to keep operating costs down. 

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Maritime Accident Case in Florida

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a maritime accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured because of maritime accidents in Coconut Creek, Plantation, Pompano Beach, and Pembroke Pines, and throughout Florida. Call (954) 525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly

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