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Recreational Boating Accidents

Whether the accident is caused by a Jet Ski, sailboat, ski boat or other pleasure boat, boating injuries can be serious. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a boating accident, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC, have extensive experience with maritime law, and the unique legal issues that arise in recreational boating injury cases.

Causes of Boating Injuries

Recreational boating accidents are commonly caused by alcohol consumption. Just like in any other motor vehicle, boat operators can have their perceptions and reflexes severely hampered by the presence of alcohol in their system. However, boating injuries can occur whether or not alcohol is involved, such as where boaters go too fast or pilot their boats erratically. Common types of recreational boating accidents include:

  • Collisions with other boats
  • Capsized boats (often caused by going too fast)
  • Being struck by booms on sailboats
  • Falling or crush injuries while going from the dock to the boat
  • Falling overboard
  • Boats running over swimmers
  • Swimmers getting sucked into the engine propellers
  • Larger boats failing to see smaller, non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards
  • Injuries to water skiers, wake boarders, inner-tubers, or other activities that involve towing individuals behind the a boat

Boat injuries can be catastrophic or even life threatening. A skilled lawyer can examine the facts of your accident and educate you on the best course of action.

Increased Risk During Busy Boating Season

The more boats there are on the water, the more hazards and obstacles there are for boaters to avoid. The summer tends to be particularly busy, especially on festival and event days.

For example, each year, the first Sunday in August is reserved for Seafair in the Seattle area. With hydroplane races and the Blue Angels, this event typically draws huge crowds. Individuals can reserve spots to tie their boats to the log boom in Lake Washington and enjoy a long weekend of festivities. Unfortunately, with so many people in the water, the chance for injury is greatly increased. With the added recreational drinking, it is not uncommon for serious accidents and injuries to occur each year.

Similarly, the Fourth of July fireworks in Lake Union typically draw large crowds. The lake tends to fill up with boats throughout the day leading up to the evening fireworks display, and many boaters consume alcohol throughout the day while barbequing and socializing on their boats throughout the day. This becomes particularly dangerous during the Fourth of July festivities because after the fireworks show, everyone tries to leave Lake Union at once. By then it is dark, and many boaters are intoxicated.

Whether or not your recreational boating accident occurred during a crowded event or not, our attorneys will explore every facet of the accident to gain a detailed understanding of exactly what led to your injuries. We will then negotiate with the liable party's insurance carrier to ensure you recover full and fair compensation.

Non-Motorized Watercraft

Boaters are required to watch out for non-motorized watercraft like canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. However, sometimes operators of larger boats fail to look out for smaller boats and swimmers. The fact that the driver of a larger boat did not see you does not excuse responsibility for the accident.

Some easy steps you can take to keep yourself safe while paddling include always bringing life jackets for everyone onboard, and making sure to use boat lights at night and in low visibility weather. There are boat lights available for purchase that can be easily mounted by suction cups to canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards. Lights help tremendously to ensure that other boats see you.

If you have been injured by another boat while swimming or paddling, you may be entitled to compensation from the boater that hit you.