Everyone enjoys a relaxing day at the lake, especially if it means riding around in a boat. There are certain safe boat operating guidelines that all operators should adhere to and all passengers should be aware of. These rules are necessary for the safety of all passengers as well as for other boats in the vicinity. Some are also state laws and regulations regarding water safety. Following these will help ensure everyone has fun in the sun, but if you’ve been injured, a personal injury attorney can help.
Boating accidents are more likely to occur in spring and summer, weekends, holidays, and events when the lake is crowded. But because they can happen at any time, the boat operator needs to be experienced and follow all the rules. Boat operators and even jet ski drivers have the same responsibilities as automobile drivers. Here are the guidelines for safe boating practices:
- All boat operators and passengers should have life preservers on board at all times. They should be inspected on a regular basis, properly maintained, and replaced when necessary.
- Air horns, binoculars, flashlights, and other means or devices to communicate to other boaters should be kept on board.
- It is important for boaters to follow navigational laws and fixtures, such as buoys and markers. They must always drive at reasonable speeds on the water.
- Drunk driving is a criminal offense, not just on the road, but on the water as well. Operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol assures the intoxicated driver will be liable for any accident. It also means the injured person will likely be entitled to punitive damages among other compensation for his injuries.
- All boaters must be licensed, and their boats registered and tagged. All identifying markings must be visible at all times. Lighting fixtures must be visible and are definitely a must for boating at nighttime.
- All boats need to be seaworthy and inspected on a regular basis to make sure they are safe. A poorly kept sea vessel can cause accidents and hazardous conditions onboard.
Most accidents are caused by inexperienced boaters who are unfamiliar with how to drive and don’t know the boat’s limitations. The operator of the boat is responsible for the safety of all passengers, and is therefore responsible for any injuries.
There are many causes of boating accidents, some more common than others. Many accidents are caused by drivers who rent the boat and don’t know the rules and guidelines. This is especially true with jet skis, which also cause water sport accidents. Jet ski drivers are often young and more reckless compared to boat operators.
Alcohol use is a major cause of accidents. Drinking tends to make boaters more relaxed and not entirely on their guard. It also interferes with good judgment. Accidents therefore become more likely to happen, and in some cases result in drowning. Similarly, drug use will make it more difficult to properly operate the boat. Accidents involving drug or alcohol use will result in liability for the driver.
Another cause of boating accidents is equipment failure. This may be the result of either a product defect or failure to properly maintain the boat. After this type of accident, it may take an investigation to determine what exactly caused it.
Any sort of reckless behavior due to inexperience, alcohol, or drugs, is unacceptable. Inexperienced drivers are often overly confident and believe they know the rules when they don’t. They also tend to overestimate their ability to safely engage in what is clearly risky behavior. Racing other boats, allowing unruly passengers onboard, and showing off can easily cause an accident.
A serious accident can hurt passengers onboard or on other vessels. This may result in significant medical expenses, personal property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
If you or a loved one suffers personal injury from an unexpected boating accident, contact a personal injury attorney. Treat your boating accident the same as you would an automobile accident. Also be aware that the statute of limitations for such an accident is two years. With the help of an experienced attorney, a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine who is at fault. Your personal injury attorney will fight to make sure the negligent party is held responsible. Contact Schneider Hammers today for aggressive legal representation you can count on.