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How To Avoid A Boating Accident

Written By Eva Brindisi Pearlman | July 8, 2016


Every 90 minutes, a person is injured in a boating accident. In 2011, there were 4588 boating accidents in the United States. Unfortunately, in those accidents a total of 758 people died. In New York State, more residents have died in boating accidents caused by alcohol than any other state in 2012. Specifically, open motor boats were responsible for more drowning-related deaths than any other vessel. Alcohol was involved in approximately 1/3 of all boating fatalities. 70% of all fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those that drowned, 90% were not wearing life jackets. This means approximately 431 lives could have been saved that year if they simply were wearing life jackets.


As personal injury lawyers, here at Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman we know about boating safety because we are boaters ourselves. We took the New York Safe Boating Course to receive our boating safety certificates and to further understand boating and the causes of boating accidents. We even offered and hosted a boating class at our office last summer to instruct others on proper boating safety techniques and boating accident prevention.


When boating, safety is essential. Check out our top 5 boating tips for accident prevention:


1. Do NOT drink and boat!


In New York State there is Zero Tolerance! Just like driving a vehicle on land, boat operators must drive the boat sober. 50% of boating accidents are alcohol related and thousands of New York State residents have become victim to boating accident fatalities due to alcohol.


2. Ensure there is proper safety equipment on board.


Every vessel including canoes, kayaks and row boats operated in NYS must have on board at least one USCG approved wearable life jacket for each person aboard. There are additional requirements for vessels over 16 feet and greater in length.  Flares, whistles, flashlights, and a first aid kit are very helpful to have on the boat. Inform all passengers of the location of this safety equipment in the event of a boating accident.


3. Don’t speed.


Similar to vehicles on land, speeding increases the likelihood of boating accidents. Observe speed limits and slow down.


4. Check the weather.


The Coast Guard attributes 771 boating accidents, 155 deaths, and 461 injuries in 2011 to environmental issues such as weather, issues with dams, congested waterways, missing navigation aids, and treacherous waters. Don’t be caught out in a storm. Monitor the weather carefully.


5. Take a boating safety course.


Learning the NYS rules for boating safety is essential before you even venture out on the water. Boat operators born on or after May 1, 1996 must have a boating safety certificate and be at least 10 years of age. Operators, who are younger than 18 years old, must be accompanied by a person who is at least 18 years old and is the holder of a boating safety certificate or not be required by law to hold one.


Also, NYS requires that anyone operating a personal watercraft complete an approved course in boating safety or otherwise be accompanied, on board, by someone who is 18 years old of age or older, who is a holder of an approved boating safety certificate. Boating certificates are required to be carried at all times when operating the personal watercraft.


We’ve heard many clients share their description of what they experienced just prior to a boating accident taking place. It’s amazing how fast an enjoyable and carefree afternoon of boating can take a turn for the worse and turn into a serious tragedy.


Sometimes, the carelessness, recklessness and negligence of a boat operator can lead to serious consequences. If you are involved in a boating accident, let The People’s Lawyer help. As boat accident lawyers, we have experience with NYS laws governing boating operations and know how to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.




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