Who Is Liable in Boating Accidents?

Categories: Personal Injury

A boating accident can involve any type of watercraft. A person may be involved in an accident while waterskiing, wakeboarding or even tubing. Two boats may collide in the water. As the popularity of boating rises, these accidents are all too common. The incidents raise the question: who is liable for the injuries and property damage that result?
Boating accidents typically occur because someone is not paying close enough attention or operating their watercraft in a way that could be considered reckless or dangerous. It is important to remember that a boat can weigh several thousand pounds, and it has enough force behind it to cause catastrophic damage. Boats should be operated with the same care on the water as a motor vehicle is on the road.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

  1. Inattention

Operator inattention is one of the largest causes of boating accidents in California and elsewhere. It is important for any operator of a boat to remain vigilant at all times. Conditions on the water can be unpredictable. When an operator stays aware, they are alerted to hazards and changes in conditions more quickly.

  1. Inexperience

A person should never operate a boat with which they are unfamiliar. Likewise, a person should not operate a boat without first taking safety classes. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, inexperience is one of the leading causes of accidents on the water. At a minimum, a person should be aware of the basics of their watercraft and navigation.

  1. Speed

Just like driving on the road, operating a boat on the water must be done at reasonable speeds for the present conditions. Traveling at excessive speeds reduces that ability and time that a person has to react to dangers.

  1. Drunk “Driving”

Drinking and boating is illegal. When a person is found to be operating their boat while under the influence of alcohol, they can be arrested. Not only does a person risk criminal charges, but they put everyone on their vessel and in the water in danger.

  1. Violating Navigational Rules

There are rules that dictate how a person operates a boat, just as their are rules that dictate how a person must operate their vehicle on the road. When a person violates these rules, they risk causing an accident that results in injury and property damage.
When a person is found to have operated their vessel in a way that was unsafe or illegal, they can be held liable for any accidents they cause. A person found to have been negligent can be required to pay compensation for the medical bills and lost wages of any injured person.
When you are involved in a boating accident, you have legal rights. If your accident has taken place in the waters of San Luis Obispo or the surrounding area, reach out to our team of experienced boating accident attorneys. We are here to assist you in any way we can. Call today to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation.