Boating Accidents: What You Need to Know

August 6, 2021

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Summer weather means enjoying time outdoors and if you’re like most people, hopping aboard a boat can be a relaxing and fun activity. However, it’s important to note that as the number of boats on the water increases, so does the possibility of an accident. Boating accidents can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries. If you’re injured in a boating or other watercraft incident, your first step is to ensure you receive prompt medical care. Following this, it’s a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine your options. Beckett’s experienced team of lawyers can assist you in ensuring you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

Common Causes

Most boating accidents occur as a result of:

  • Operator inexperience: Boats can be difficult to operate and control, and operators who are inexperienced are more likely to cause accidents. A lack of formal education and knowledge surrounding safety precautions is common in new boaters and can be extremely dangerous. Operators should be well-versed in navigation and should know how to handle any emergency situations that may arise.
  • Intoxication: Alcohol consumption severely impacts the ability to operate any watercraft. Depth perception, reaction times, and focus are reduced, making accidents much more likely to occur. In Ontario, fines and penalties for drinking and boating are the same as drinking and driving. For many people, boating and alcohol go together, making this a very significant factor in many accidents.
  • Recklessness: Many accidents can be attributed to unsafe practices. These include not following the rules of the water, not staying attentive, and not following important safety measures such as wearing life jackets.
  • Mechanical issues: Problems such as a malfunctioning engine or navigation lights can occur, often due to poor maintenance. Ensure proper preparation and regular check-ups to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Collisions, onboard slip and falls, water skiing or tubing mishaps, and falling overboard are just a few of the ways injuries can happen. Potential injuries may vary in severity but can include brain and spinal cord damage, lacerations, broken bones, and lost limbs.

Liability in Boating Accidents

Usually, the operator of the boat is found liable as they are in control of the vessel and are responsible for obeying rules and laws. In Ontario, boat operators have a duty of care to prevent injuries to passengers and other boaters. Other potential liable parties include the owner of the boat, the manufacturer, the rental company if the boat was rented, or another passenger. If more than one person is responsible for the accident, there may be multiple defendants in the personal injury claim. As laid out in The Marine Liability Act, if the at-fault party’s negligence resulted in your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Claims may be brought by the injured victim or surviving family members.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a watercraft accident, the Beckett team can help. These types of accidents can be complex and confusing as they include various laws, some provincial and some federal. Beckett’s knowledgeable lawyers can assist by analyzing your unique situation in order to ensure you receive proper compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to begin your journey towards justice.


Published on August 6, 2021

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