Boat Accidents

Boat Accidents

Boat Accidents

A boat accident can be classified by any accident in which one or more marine vessels is involved. Although boat accidents share many similarities to car accidents, such as damage and injury sustained as a result of collision(s), boat accidents possess an added element of danger due to the presence of water. Drowning accounts for upwards of 7,000 deaths per year. The added danger of drowning in tandem with physical injury, in addition to property damage, allow for boat accidents to be some of the most potentially dangerous accidents. However, with proper training, participation in safety courses, and certification, boat accidents can be avoided. 

Types of Boat Accidents

Boat accidents vary from large, commercial vessels to small, private boats. Furthermore, boating accidents can range from injuries sustained on cruise ships to those sustained while participating in water sports, such as water skiing and wakeboarding. 

While boat accidents can involve both damage and injury due to collision, the United States Civil Air Patrol unit reports that upwards of 70 percent of boat accident fatalities result from drowning. Other causes of boat accidents include improper and/or reckless operation.

DWI Boating Laws: Boating laws involving the improper operation of a boat while intoxicated mirror DUI laws in their respective place of operation. For example, in a state where the legal limit is .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) for the operation of a motor vehicle, the same applies for the legal operation of a boat. Furthermore, the penalties are mirrored, as well. Depending on the severity of the boat accident, penalties for DWI boat accidents can include fines, loss of boating licenses, and jail time. 


Boat Operator’s Certificate/Boat License: The protocols for legal operation of boats vary from state to state. In certain states, obtaining a boat license must be achieved through the Marine Services Bureau, while other states require the acquisition of a boating license through the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Every state not only maintains a standard of legal age to operate a boat, but also a regiment of courses and examinations to earn a boating license. Boat accidents resulting from the improper or illegal operation of a boat can result in the loss, revocation, or suspension of a boating license. 

Boat Operators Insurance: Akin to vehicle insurance, the operation of a boat requires the owner/operator to possess insurance. Boating insurance not only covers the owner/operator of a boat, but also covers damage or injury sustained by, or as a result of, that specific owner/operator. The operation of a boat without insurance is both unlawful and illegal. 

Lifesaving Courses: As previously stated, over 70 percent of fatal boating accidents result from drowning. The completion of a lifesaving course such a lifeguard certification and/or CPR can prevent drowning resulting from boat accidents. 

Safe Operation

Life jackets and life vests should always be worn by every individual on the boat.

Alcohol – or any other mind-altering substance – should never be ingested while operating a boat.

In the event of damage or injury sustained as a result of a boat accident, individuals are encouraged to consult with legal professionals in order to evaluate the details of their respective cases. There exist attorneys who specialize in boat accidents.




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