A boat ride with family and friends is a great way to blow off some steam and enjoy a day off. To make sure you have a relaxing day, it’s important to follow some essential rules when operating or riding on a boat.
According to the 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard, recreational boating accidents accounted for $42 million dollars in damage, 2,613 injuries, and 626 deaths.
Kaplan & Lukowski, LLP is here to help with expert legal counsel if you do run into boating trouble. Our team helps clients recover compensation for financial and physical damages as a result of boating accidents.
Causes of Boating Accidents
Here are the top five contributing factors to boating accidents according to the 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics:
- Operator inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
- Excessive speed
Just like driving a car, the most important rule is to pay attention when you are riding in and operating a boat. Drivers should also avoid drinking alcohol; intoxications was a leading factor in 17% of fatal boating incidents. Boat operators should keep their blood alcohol content below .02% and avoid high speeds.
A Quick Checklist
Before you sail on the open waters, follow these simple rules:
- Inspect your boat for any structural damage and seal any leaks.
- Have at least one life jacket for every person riding on your boat. 85% of drowning victims reported were not wearing life jackets.
- Bring a fire extinguisher, distress signals, a flare gun, and navigation lights.
- Check your boat’s manual for loading limits and remove unnecessary gear.
By taking these precautions, you will be ready if you encounter trouble on the water.
Boat Safety Tips
When operating a water vehicle, remember these important tips:
- If you are in an area with large vessels, maintain distance and a wide berth.
- Avoid buoys.
- If you see a water vessel approaching or in your perimeter, take precaution to maintain a safe distance.
- Do not drink and operate your vehicle.
What Laws Govern Boating Accidents?
Juries will decide whether or not the boater followed safety regulations in accordance to negligence laws. They will examine if the operator was competent and if the owner is liable for negligent use of their boat. In some cases, the owner of the boat may be liable for damages even if he or she is not driving the boat, as in the case of Gunn v. Booker.
These laws govern more than just boats, so use precaution when riding any water craft including sail boats and jet skis.
Contact Us For a Free Consultation On Any Boating Incident
If you have been involved in a boating accident due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, contact Kaplan & Lukowski, LLP. We will examine your situation to determine the best course of action. If we take on your case, we will devote all available resources to help you recover and the compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys are experts in boating accident injury cases. Reach out to the Kaplan & Lukowski, LLP team to learn about our services.