Millions of people own and regularly use boats for business and recreational purposes. Over the past few decades, the number of boats on our lakes, rivers, oceans, and waterways has increased. While an increase in the number of boats on the water may be a factor in boating accidents, it is not the only factor.
Many of the factors in boating accidents can give rise to a personal injury claim. A California boating accident attorney can review the cause of a boating accident to determine if accident victims have a valid injury claim against the boating operator or another party.
Eight Common Factors in California Boating Accidents
1. Distracted Operators — Being on a large body of water can give some boaters a false sense of security that they do not need to pay as close attention when operating a boat as they do when driving a vehicle. Unfortunately, operator inattention is a common cause of boating accidents. Boating operators need to remain focused on their surroundings, the weather, and other conditions on the water, especially when the boat is in motion.
2. Improper Maintenance — Some boating accidents are the result of equipment failure because the boat owner failed to perform regular boat maintenance. Boat owners should regularly inspect their boats and ensure that all components are in good working order before leaving the dock.
3. Impaired Operators — Drug and alcohol use is another common reason for boating accidents. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. Boating under the influence is illegal in California.
4. Inexperienced Operators — Operator inexperience was the third primary contributing factor in recreational boating accidents in 2017 according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Operators who have never owned a boat or who have very little experience operating a boat can greatly benefit from a boater education course before venturing onto the water.
5. Excessive Speed — Excessive speed is another common factor in boating accidents. Some areas have maximum speed limits because of the water hazards or boating traffic. Even in areas with no maximum boating speed limit, operators need to maintain a safe speed. Speeding reduces the time an operator has to react to hazards or dangers.
6. Weather Conditions — The weather is another common factor in boating accidents. The weather conditions on the water can change quickly. Operators should check weather conditions before a trip and closely monitor the weather conditions throughout the trip.
7. Violating Navigational Rules — Being on the open water does not equate to total freedom. Boating operators should be familiar with and follow all USCG navigation rules and regulations to decrease the risk of causing a recreational boating accident.
8. Improper Lookout — A person on the boat should be designated to serve as the lookout. The lookout assists the operator in watching for hazards or dangers so that the operator can take evasive action in time to avoid a boating accident. The U.S. Coast Guard listed this factor as the second most common factor in 2017 recreational boating accidents.
Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If a boating accident caused your injury, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact J&Y Law today to learn about your options. A California personal injury attorney will evaluate your case and give you advice regarding your legal rights and options for filing an injury claim against the boat owner, boat operator, or another party.