The Gainesville Boating Accident Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC, along with friends and family of the victim, Gators fans, residents of our community, and beyond, mourn the loss of the well-known UF swimming coach, Donnie Craine, following his death in a boating incident.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is still investigating the incident, which occurred on Thursday, April 24, 2014, off the coast of Bokeelia, Florida. That day, two vessels, one with two occupants, and another with four persons aboard, were being navigated upon waterways near Pine Island. As one boat came around a curve in Jug Creek, thetwo vessels collided head-on with one another. Officials say that apparently both boats had attempted to turn in the same direction. As a result of the collision, Craine was ejected from the boat. Tragically, Craine was fatally injured in the crash. The other five persons involved sustained only minor injuries, none of which required medical treatment.
Craine is well-known for his 37 year career as a diving coach, 30 years of which were spent with the gators, as head coach for University of Florida’s men’s and women’s diving athletes. In addition to coaching five NCAA champions, Craine is also noted for his four-time recognition as SEC diving coach of the year. Craine was known for his compassionate and caring nature, not only towards the athletes he coached, but towards others as well. With two of our firm’s attorneys being graduates of UF, in addition to loyal Gators fans, the announcement of Craine’s tragic death certainly hits home. Our condolences go out to Craine’s family and friends, as they struggle to cope during this difficult time.
As Boating Collision Attorneys, we hope that at least some good can come from this awful incident. While boating accidents are less common than, say, automobile collisions, hundreds of vessel-related accidents, many of which involve catastrophic injury, occur each year in Florida. Unfortunately, such accidents are not always given the media coverage necessary to raise concerns over boating safety issues. Sadly, it has taken the death of a notable Floridian in order for a boating collision to receive the type of widespread media attention that might contribute to a heightened awareness in Florida of the potential dangers associated with boating.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Boating Accident Statistics, Florida consistently ranks highest in the nation for boating-accident related injuries and fatalities. Although it is also necessary to take into consideration that Florida also has the highest quantity of registered vessels in the nation, this fact in and of itself demonstrates the absolute necessity of promoting awareness of boating safety in our state.
We must all remember that boats, just like motor vehicles, are massive pieces of machinery, capable of substantial destruction. The accident attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC hope that all boaters will take a moment to contemplate the significance of FWC’s adage—Safe boating is a Choice.