Massive ships have the potential to cause massive damage. A whale-watching ship driven by an employee of “Hornblower Cruises and Events” caused panic and distress in San Diego, California when it drove straight into a dock filled with onlookers. Seven passengers of the ship were left injured in the accident. The damage ranged from back, leg, and neck injuries. Crew members that anticipated the crash attempted to minimize the damage by warning passengers to “hold onto something.”
The ship spanned approximately one hundred and fifty feet and left substantial damage in the dock after crashing several feet inwards. Passengers on the top floor of the boat were extremely startled by the hit and many fell down from the impact, leaving bruises and cuts. Those aboard the ship watched as people on the dock ran out of the ship’s way. Upon the collision, tables and chairs aboard the ship fell down. “We hit pretty hard,” reported one passenger. Another stated, “The woman next to me fell, she was hurt pretty bad.”
Passengers were stuck on the ship for about two hours before being released post-accident, while other boats tried to separate the ship from the dock. The accident was investigated by police and the U.S. Coast Guard, as the cause of the accident remained unknown.
In accidents such as this, an attorney versed in the maritime law can help determine whether any laws were violated. An attorney can evaluate whether the employees on the ship, for example, took the correct emergency and accident precautions and procedures in order to minimize the distress. He or she can also tell you whether any other laws were violated, such as whether the employer had the correct boating registration or authorization to operate a boat, and whether operational law was followed, such as speed. For example, “The maximum speed for motorboats . . . within 200 feet of a . . . passenger landing being used, or landing where boats are tied up is 5 miles per hour.” These laws are in place to ensure that “(1) action can be taken to avoid collision; and (2) [a] boat can stop within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.”
Determining whether there were any legal violations is crucial to the legal remedies available to you. If you were injured in a boating accident in Northern our Southern California, call the law firm of J&Y today.