Proposed Law Named for Boy Who Died in Boating Accident Could Help Make the Waters Safer

In November 2020 we blogged about a tragedy in which a 10-year-old boy was killed during a boating accident in Sarasota. At the time it was not entirely clear how Ethan Issacs died. But as details of his death have come to light as his parents are also pushing for legislation that would help prevent a similar accident from happening to another child.

Ethan was out on a boating excursion when he fell into the water from the sailboat on which he was riding. reports that when an 18-year-old instructor attempted to rescue Ethan the instructor accidentally engaged the throttle of the 90-hp boat in which he was writing. With the instructor overboard the boat collided with Ethan. Ethan was killed when the boat’s propeller ran over him.

In the wake of their child’s death, Ethan’s parents are championing legislation that would help prevent a similar situation from happening to others. House Bill 1099, also called Ethan’s law, would require boat operators to wear engine cut-off switches, with one end attached to the body and the other end attached to the boat throttle. If the operator were to fall back or overboard the switch would disengage from the throttle and the boat would slow down and stop.

A similar federal regulation is about to go into effect, requiring drivers of boats under 26 feet long to wear the switches. But that law does not apply to Florida waters. Ethan’s law would apply to all Florida waters and would carry a ticket for boat operators who do not comply.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious maritime injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today. We will lead you on the journey to justice. We will show you the way. We will explain the process, what we have done, and what we will do. Take our hand and walk with us. We have a team ready for you now.