With a large majority of the earth’s surface covered by water, it is no surprise that boating, cruising, and commercial boats are a pastime that millions of people participate in throughout the year. This means thousands of people die in boating accidents each year and thousands more are injured.
According to the United States Coast Guard there were 12,438,926 recreational vessels registered by the states in 2010. In the same year, there were 4604 accidents that involved 672 deaths, 3153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
- Significantly, over one third of all boating accidents involve a driver who is under the influence of alcohol. All states have criminalized boating under the influence (BUI) and often impose heavy fines on or incarcerate those convicted of such an offense.
- Careless or reckless boat operation
- Severe weather, such as strong winds or heavy rains also cause boating accidents. Sailors may experience difficulty in properly navigating and avoid collisions, or in keeping a boat upright and afloat under certain weather conditions. Extreme exposure to sunlight may also cause boat passengers to suffer heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses.
- Boat engines produce toxic carbon monoxide, which may cause death or serious injury if passengers are exposed to high concentrations of the gas.
- Boating accidents can occur when inexperienced boaters encounter dangerous or unfamiliar conditions.
- Operator inattention
- Excessive speed
- Inappropriate passenger or skier behavior
- Negligent acts which may cause boats to capsize or collide
- Collision with another vessel is the most common type of accident involving open motorboats
- Passengers may fall overboard
- When boat operators are careless, skiers may be struck by propellers or the vessels towing them.
California is known for it’s 3,400 miles of ocean shoreline and in addition to the ocean has nearly 8,000 square miles of inland water for boating, fishing and other water sports. In 2006, according to the California Department of Boating and Waterways, there were 757 reported accidents, injuring 445 people and killing 42 people causing more than 8.9 million dollars in property damage.
You may be compensated for your injuries if you have been injured in a boating accident and someone else is liable. Persons are at fault for a boating accident if they act negligently. Persons act negligently if they fail to conduct themselves as a reasonable person under similar circumstances. A reasonable boater would typically adhere to all safety rules, regulations, and precautions and be mindful of passengers and other boaters. The boating accident lawyers at Grey Law know how to investigate boating accidents and evaluate the validity of claims that arise from them. Contact our office today at 323-857-9500 for a free legal case evaluation.
After a boating accident occurs the boat operator is responsible for filing an accident report. The accident report must be submitted to either the applicable state agency regulating boats, the United States Coast Guard, or both. California law requires that the boat operator must file an accident report and if the operator is unable to file this report, the owner of the boat is responsible for filing an accident report. If personal injuries or death result from the accident, the report must be filed within 48 hours of the accident. If the accident only caused property damage, the report must be filed within 10 days of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died due to a boating accident, and would like to learn more about your legal rights, please contact the experienced boating attorneys at Grey Law. Call us at 323-857-9500. We offer a free legal case evaluation.