Most boating accidents happen because of careless attitudes, poor boat maintenance or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At The Law Offices of Jon Friedman, we have seen almost every type of boat accident imaginable over the years. We have been able to win substantial payouts for those who have been the victims of somebody else’s negligence on the water.
State and Federal Regulations Control Boating Safety
Both state and federal regulations control boat equipment, maintenance and the behavior of operators in order to ensure that our waterways remain safe. Despite these regulations, some operators still behave as if they can do no wrong. In Portland, the effects of alcohol consumption are thought to be responsible for at least a third of all boating accidents. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that any operator of a boat who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1% or more has a potential for causing an accident more than 10 times greater than somebody who has consumed no alcohol at all.
More Boats on the Water Leads to More Accidents
Accidents can happen whether you are on your own boat or on a private or publicly owned vessel. The number of people boating increases every year and leads to more boating accidents.
Common causes of boating accidents include:
- Traveling on unsafe or poorly maintained passenger vessels
- Colliding with another boat
- Being hit while in the water by a boat, Jet Ski or water skier
- Onboard gas explosions
- Failure to follow safe navigation or boating regulations
- Through no fault of their own, victims of boating accidents are far away from medical services. Even small injuries can be life threatening because it takes time for medical personnel to reach victims out in the water.
Most Boating Accidents are Avoidable
Most of these boating accidents are preventable and should never happen. If operators maintain their boats properly, equip them with things that are sensibly required by law and drive or sail their boats according to the conditions and with respect for other users of the water these accidents wouldn’t be so frequent.
The state has certain requirements that should be carried out in the event of a boating accident. The boat owner or operator involved in an incident is required to offer assistance where needed and provide the details of their name and boat registration. They are also required to file a report to state authorities within a specified time period in the event that somebody has been injured or died or there has been any property damage.
Your First Priority is Your own Medical Needs
As with any sort of accident, if you have been involved in a boating accident, your first priority should be to get medical assistance. It may be that you are taken away to hospital anyway if you have a serious accident.
If you are able to do so immediately after the accident, taking the details down of any potential eye witnesses could be very useful as evidence later on when your case is pursued. You may be able to take photos, even if you use a mobile device, which can help to show evidence of the cause of the accident.