Boating Laws, Safety, and Liability

It’s summer, which means that many people will be out and about boating and having fun. However, a fun day on the river could turn into something much worse in the face of a boat accident. This is why you should always be prepared by understanding some safety tips. These include staying afloat, staying alert, staying in touch, and staying informed.

  • Staying Afloat: To stay afloat, one must remember one of the most important things in regards to boating: wearing a life jacket. In 90% of drowning cases, the victims were not wearing a personal flotation device. In the other 10% of cases, they were not wearing an adequate form that kept their head above water. Many people think that on a hot summer day, it is best to keep that bulky life jacket off to the side; however, in the face of an accident this is not the case. Life jackets are your best bet to stay afloat and they are also made to be quite affordable nowadays.
  • Staying Alert: Unfortunately enough, boating can be made dangerous when somebody partakes in BUI, or boating under the influence. About 17% of all fatalities involving boats stem from a BUI. At this point in time, it is not illegal to drink in boats but the problem remains that people are not sure when to stop and this leads to accidents. BUI offenses are a bit less stringent than DUI accidents in many cases. Stay safe and refrain from drinking too much when you are out on the boat if you want to stay alive.
  • Staying in Touch: In the case of an accident, you want to be able to get in touch with rescuers. You may have a cellphone on you but your best bet of being found is through a marine radio, which has a built-in feature that can send an automatic mayday call. Stay up to date with your radio’s upgrades and stay safe!
  • Staying Informed: Many states still do not have licensing requirements for boat operators. However, you should always consider taking a safe-boating course for your own knowledge. In regards to 700 yearly fatalities stemming from boats, 10% of those are caused by inexperience when the driver had no formal boat safety training.

Accident Reporting

In the event of a boating accident, you must make an accident report to the state. This includes any instance where a person dies, disappears from the vessel, is injured and requires medical attention, has damages of more than $2,000, or the boat is completely destroyed.

Liability in Boating Accidents

If you have taken safety precautions but somebody is injured in a boating accident regardless, you may wonder where to turn next. Who can be held liable for the injuries? If somebody has acted negligently, they can be held liable in a boating accident just as with a car accident. Any reasonable boater will adhere to all safety rules in accordance with following directions, observing signs, maintaining the boat, paying attention to the weather, and more. Many boating accidents will result in civil liability, but some can situations can warrant criminal liability. Victims may be able to sue for property damage, medical expenses, and more. If somebody has acted recklessly, then they will pay the costs of the injuries.

Have you been a victim in a boating accident and now you are facing injuries because of it? Call us today to get the compensation you deserve. Boating accidents happen every year and we have experience to handle your case. Call us today at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi for more information.