BOAT ACCIDENTS IN CALIFORNIA
California is a state with an approximately 840 mile long coast line. Our beautiful coast attracts many tourists and Californians alike. Today there are over 900,000 registered vessels in California and this number is on the rise. An increase in the amount of registered boat owners has increased the amount of injuries and deaths caused by boating accidents, which is already an alarming number. According to Insurance Information Institute there has been an increase in boating accident fatalities by 8.9% from 560 in 2013 to 610 in 2014. In the earlier years, the number of injuries caused by boating accidents was also increasing, but at a slower rate. For instance, in 2009 there were 3,358 injuries caused by boating accidents, 736 of which resulted deaths. This was a 4% increase from the previous 2008. Thus, the number of boating accidents is not only increasing, but also increasing at a very high rate.
MOST COMMON BOATING ACCIDENT INJURIES
Boating accidents often lead to serious injuries and deaths. As most passengers on the boat or not restrained to the boat itself, some of these injuries can be more severe than those caused by a car or even a truck accident. Following are some of the most common boating accident injuries:
- Head Trauma,
- Brain Injury,
- Spinal Cord Injury,
- Facial Injury,
- Shoulder Injury, and
- Broken or Fractured bones.
CALIFORNIA BOATING LAWS
According to the Department of Boating and Waterways the following are the laws that need to be followed:
LIFE JACKETS – All passengers on the boat must wear One Coast Guard approved life jackets. This applies to all children under 13 years of age, unless restrained by a harness tied to the boat or enclosed in a cabin.
OPERATION – In order to legally operate a boat in California, a person must be 16 years of age or older, unless the motor of a boat has less than 15 horsepower or a sailboat less than 30 feet in length. A child that is 12-15 years old may operate a boat whose motor has more than 15 horsepower, but under a supervision of an adult.
INTOXICATION – Much like when operating a motor vehicle, a person operating a boat may not be under the influence of alcohol. Thus, the same laws that apply to motor vehicle drivers, apply to people operating boats. Unfortunately many people are under the impression that they may operate boats while under the influence of alcohol, which leads to many boating accidents. Out of all fatal boating accidents in the United States, alcohol is a contributing factor in 16% of them.
TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID A BOATING ACCIDENT
Don’t Drink Alcohol and/or Drugs When Operating a Boat – Treat operating a boat as operating a motor vehicle. Do not operate a boat while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol because it is illegal. It also increases your chances of getting into a boating accident by 34 percent according to the U.S. Guard. In addition, the statistics show that over one half of all boating accidents involve drugs or alcohol (see Insurance Information Institute).
Do Not Speed – Speeding is one of the main causes of boating accidents in California. Avoid speeding at all costs as boats do not have brakes and thus more time is required to avoid a potential danger than while driving a motor vehicle.
Obey the California Boating Laws – Wear a life jacket, be of proper age or under the direct supervision of an adult, and do not drink/use drugs and boat.
Wear Your Life Jacket – Most fatal boating accidents result in drowning of a victim, and statistics show that 80% of them were not using life jackets during the accident. Wear a life jacket, not only will it save your life, but is is also the law in California.
Properly Maintain Your Boat – Boat malfunction and improper maintenance of a boat can be detected before it causes a potential boating accident. Take care of your boat as you do your motor vehicle and have it properly checked up and maintained. You may get your boat checked for free at The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Keep a Limited Number of Passengers – Each boat has it’s passenger capacity. Overloading a boat can cause it to drown. Thus, keep a limited number of passengers on your boat.
Know the Weather – Before you decide to take out your boat, check the weather and make sure it is safe to do so. Bad weather can create big waves and cause a boating accident.
Be Prepared for an Emergency – Have the proper emergency gear and make sure the safety equipment is properly maintained and working.
Use a carbon monoxide detector – It will save your life.
CHOOSING A WOODLAND HILLS ACCIDENT LAWYER
If you or your loved one was injured in a boating accident, you must act on time and obtain the representation you deserve. Boating accidents often cause serious injuries which require extensive medical treatment and leave permanent physical and emotional marks for the rest of one’s life. Act on time.