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Boating Accident Attorney In MIA: Coast Guard Says Lights Unnecessary On Jetty Where Jose Fernandez Died In Boat Crash

July 2, 2017


We discussed the Jose Fernandez tragedy here not long ago. Our South Florida Boating Accident Lawyers deal with many of these sorts of cases, and this situation, while it dealt with a major South Florida sports star, also was illustrative of the many hazards that boaters face in our region.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Florida Boating Accident, our dedicated team of lawyers will take the time to answer your questions today at 844.380.HURT.


On Thursday, June 28, the Coast Guard issued its summary of findings and announced that it was rejecting calls for warning lights on the South Beach Jetty where Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez crashed his powerboat last year killing him and two passengers on September 25, 2016.  Coast Guard officials resisted calls to light the rocky breakwater in order to make it easier to see. "The Captain of the Port of Miami has determined that the existing aids that mark safe navigation through the channel, which include color coded lighted buoys and lighted range markers, to be sufficient."


According to toxicology reports, Fernández, 24, was intoxicated when he flipped his 32-foot powerboat onto the rocks, killing passengers Eduardo Rivero, 26, and Emilio Jesus Macias, 27. Fernández also had cocaine in his system, state investigators said. 

The Coast Guard said Fernández operated his boat “in a reckless manner, at an extremely high rate of speed, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as the rock jetties and channel markers.”


The Coast Guard’s Miami Beach station announced that its review of navigational aids off Government Cut concluded lights were not needed on either the northern jetty, where Fernández’s boat crashed, or on the one to the south. A two-page summary of the Coast Guard’s findings said Fernández caused the only fatality on the jetty since at least 1998, and said “external factors, not related to the waterway” caused that crash.


In a news release, the Coast Guard announced that it had also completed the Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) survey of the Miami Main Channel and jetties in the vicinity of Government Cut.  The Coast Guard bears the responsibility for marking all federally maintained channels. In order to assess the waterway, and the need for aids, the Coast Guard conducts periodic Waterways Analysis and Management System surveys.

South Florida, with its many beautiful waterways, is an ideal place to enjoy boating with friends and family. In most instances, these are enjoyable, worry-free excursions, but when the day is sunny and bright and there are multiple powerful vessels on the water, and alcohol and/or drugs are involved, it is important to remember that the unthinkable can happen. Take care of yourselves and each other at all times on the water. Remember if  you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach or Palm Beach due to a negligent and/or impaired boater, give our offices a call at 844.380.HURT. We are always in your corner and available to help.



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