Summertime is upon us and in Modesto, California many families bring their boats to the lake, reservoir or the Delta. But recently there have been some horrific accidents related to boating in California.
RECENT MAJOR CALIFORNIA ACCIDENTS
The first accident that comes to mind is in San Francisco, where a crew on a boat that was in a yacht race in the San Francisco Bay was lost at sea. Only 3 of the 8 persons on that boat made it to safety. This yacht race recently resumed. As reported in the San Francisco Examiner “Bay Area yacht racing to resume a month after fatal Farallon Islands accident”.
The next accident is eerily similar, occurring soon after the first, but in Southern California. That accident involved yacht that was in a race from Newport to Ensenada. Although that death is the first in that race’s history, it is certainly not the only death in boating recently.
CAUSE OF ACCIDENTS
The issue in both of those boating accidents is the cause of the accident. US Sailing is working with the U.S. Coast Guard to figure out what went wrong during these boating accidents. Whether the accidents were caused by operator error (negligence), by a poorly built boat (product liability) or by mother nature, the boating community is demanding answers.
If this blogger had to guess, the cause would be mother nature combined with some operator mistakes. But the main cause would be the large waves that sometimes envelope boats in the ocean. But this blog’s entry’s purpose is to discuss how boating accidents apply to the average person.
Boating deaths shot up by 12.8 percent in 2011. Boat deaths are at the highest level since 1998, according the a report released by the U.S. Coast Guard. (US Coast Guard Report) According to that same report, in 2011, the Coast Guard counted 4588 accidents that involved 758 deaths, 3081 injuries and approximately $52 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (19%), and cabin motorboats (14%). That means that by far the majority of accidents involve the boats that everyday people bring out to the lake and reservoir every summer.
Safety is very important when boating. Although the majority of boating accidents are caused by a boating operators negligence, death from that accident is usually because the victim of the accident was not wearing a life jacket. Although this blog focuses on the legal principals involved with boating, it is important to remember to always wear a life jacket when on the water.
Just like in a car or truck, the operator of a boat has a duty to use reasonable care when operating. That means that the general principals of negligence apply. The operator has a duty to act like a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. Most people comply with this general principal. Local reservoirs have rules to remind people how to behave when they are operating the boat. For example, one rule at the reservoir is having all the boats move in the same general direction on the lake. That is like driving on the correct side of the road in a car. Another rule is slow down when coming to shore, like slowing for an intersection in a car.
If you have been in a boat accident it is important to contact a Central Valley boating accident attorney like the The Bogan Law Firm, A Professional Corporation. A review of your case is important to determine if there may be someone at fault in the accident. Also a review is needed to see if there may have been a defect in the boat which was being operated that caused the accident.