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BOATING SAFETY

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Boating is an enjoyable hobby and allows people to spend time with friends and family, enjoy great weather, sight-see beautiful locations, and create memories to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, boating accidents do occur frequently, because boating can be dangerous. Boat accidents can occur in various environments, including on water, on land, in marinas, or at boating docks. 

Accidents occur frequently, as some boaters fail to operate boats safely. Additional common causes for boating accidents include inexperienced drivers, intoxicated drivers, speeding, poor boating conditions, and inclement weather. People may become injured, property may become damaged, and in some cases, fatalities occur. Injuries may vary from minor to severe, depending on different factors that have caused a boating accident to occur. Due to the massive nature of boats, negligence and injuries are real probabilities that must be taken seriously. Due to various factors surrounding boating accidents, lawsuits may become complex matters. In order to provide clarification concerning boating accidents, the following frequently asked questions are discussed.

WHAT IS A “BOATING ACCIDENT”?
As defined by the United States Coast Guard, a boating accident is a situation where a boat passenger dies or becomes seriously injured, a boat passenger disappears and death or injury is suspected, or a vessel causes or sustains damage. Boating accidents are not limited to collisions, but may occur whenever someone is killed, injured, or disappears while boating.

WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR MY BOATING ACCIDENT INJURIES AND DAMAGES?
Because boats usually hold multiple people, boat accidents often involve multiple defendants. People who may be held liable for boating accident injuries include:

the driver or owner of a boat, on which you were a guest
the driver or owner of a boat that collided with your boat
the manufacturer of the boat
the manufacturer of safety equipment
the owner of the marina
the owner of the dock
anyone responsible for obstruction in the water
anyone whose negligence resulted in your injuries and/or damages


WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF BOATING ACCIDENTS?
The most common causes of boating accidents include operator inattention, operator inexperience, speeding, reckless driving, driving while under the influence, passenger behavior, failing to look for other nearby boats, restricted vision, hazardous objects in the water, inclement weather, and engine failure.

WHAT LAWS DISCUSS BOATING ACCIDENTS?

Various laws are in place, applying to different areas of water. Boating accident laws vary across states. In nearly any waterway, boating accident victims have rights, fortunately. Depending on different factors pertaining to the case, laws may be specific maritime statutes or court decisions, along with general personal injury laws. 

DO DUI LAWS PERTAIN TO BOATING ACCIDENTS?
Just as driving a car is illegal while under the influence, operating a boat is also illegal while under the influence. Specifically, strict laws are in place for boaters who drink. If boaters register a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, they are presumed to be under the influence. It is unfortunate that drunk boating occurs frequently. Many boaters fail to recognize that boats are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than cars. Drunk boaters will be held responsible in the court of law, as they are putting themselves, other boaters, and any nearby people in danger while operating a boat intoxicated.

WHAT IF THE OTHER BOATER THAT HIT ME IS A TOURIST, FROM ANOTHER STATE OR COUNTRY?
Your rights remain even if the at-fault party is from a different state or country. Cases involving defendants that are out-of-state require focused representation, legally speaking.

WHAT AGE GROUP EXPERIENCES BOATING ACCIDENTS MOST FREQUENTLY?
Generally speaking, drinking is a common cause with accidents. It is likely that riders are enjoying the boat all day, and thus possibly consumed alcohol at some point. If a driver is on a boat for the entire day, and consuming alcohol consistently, this impairs driving ability, thus increasing the chances of an accident to occur. 

Furthermore, studies show that a younger age group, ranging from 20 to 30 years old, are commonly involved in boating accidents. Additionally, whenever there are a congregation of boats in the dark, the likelihood of an accident to occur increases. If people have been on a boat all day, are eager to drive back to the dock, and have consumed alcohol, these factors joined together are a recipe for an accident.


Unfortunately, boating accidents are relatively common. If you become involved in a boating accident, the first step to tend to any injuries as needed.  The next step is to file an accident report. An accident report will benefit you in the court of law, as a reliable document for what occurred. The next step is to seek medical attention. If you or a loved one are injured, you should hire a personal injury attorney to ensure that you receive the support and compensation you deserve.