What Constitutes a Boating Accident?

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When we hear the term ‘boating accident’, there’s often confusion. Does this mean that two boats collided heavily? Does it mean a boat lightly tapped the harbor? What exactly constitutes a boating accident? Furthermore, what type of ‘boat’ is included in this definition?

Does the Boating Accident Require Emergency Attention?

Firstly, we should note that the Coast Guard should always be contacted if an incident causes a death, if somebody fell into the water and is now missing, if the boat is completely destroyed and can no longer move, if somebody requires emergency care, or if there’s damage thought to be in the thousands of dollars.

If any one of these applies, it’s serious enough for attention from the Coast Guard. Otherwise, light taps and slight damage to paintwork can normally be ignored.

Common Boating Accidents and Causes

While on the water, boating accidents can include speedboats, sailboats, jet skis, hovercraft, or any other vessel. With the accidents themselves, common examples include two vessels colliding or one vessel coming into contact with the dock or another obstacle.

Sadly, the most common cause of death on the water is still alcohol. According to US Coast Guard statistics, just over 100 deaths were caused by alcohol in 2014. Just like on the road, no vessel should be under the control of an inebriated individual (maximum 0.08 blood alcohol content). Not only is it dangerous, it’s also against the law…which leads to our final section.

Applicable Boating Laws

Which laws apply to boating accidents? Well, this ultimately depends on where the accident occurs. If on a lake, river, or a closed off section of water, local and state laws will normally apply. When at sea, we have maritime laws to protect lives; in these cases, it can be a little more confusing since coastal waters belong to the whole country rather than an individual state.

If you need advice or a professional by your side, feel free to contact us at The Injury Firm today!

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