Oceans, lakes, rivers, and beaches can be beautiful places to visit, play, and relax. They can also be great places to fish for sport and recreation or work. Did you know that Texas has more inland water than any other state in the United States? According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife, there are more than 580,000 boats in Texas.
With all the planning that goes into the perfect outing, families tend to forget to be cautious of the potential dangers that can cause death or serious injuries while on the water.
THINGS TO REMEMBER to help avoid accidents and injuries on the water:
- Driver qualification and experience in operating a boat;
- Assure that your boat is equipped with visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, and working navigation lights;
- DON’T forget your life jackets. Make sure you have enough life jackets for every person on the boat;
- DON’T drink alcohol while operating a boat;
- DON’T forget your flares;
- Assure that your boat is equipped with a marine radio;
- Make sure that your boat is properly maintained to assure that it will not break down;
- Stay alert to your surroundings;
- Be aware of the weather hazards and current patterns;
- Maintain extreme caution;
Most common boating accidents are preventable. Some of these common factors include the following:
- Failing to have a valid driver’s license to operate a boat;
- Driver inexperience;
- Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol;
- Driving inattention to the surroundings;
- Failing to keep a proper lookout for other boats in the vicinity;
- Failing to maintain a safe distance between your boat and any other boats in the area;
- Failing to yield to other boats;
- Failing to travel at a safe speed in high traffic areas;
- Failing to have a designated spotter;
When water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing or other water sport it is extremely important that the driver of the boat stays alert and in the proper boating lanes. This is critical when towing a water skier since the skier will be in the water and may fall victim to other boats who are unaware that the skier is down. Many water skiers are injured or even killed when a boat crossed the tow rope or runs over them.
Driving a jet ski or waverunner requires driver attentiveness and caution. A common cause of injury on water sport vehicles involving jet skis or waverunners is the collision with other water sport vehicles or other boats. Another common cause of jet ski or waverunner injury involves jet injuries caused by poor maintenance of the vehicle, product liability issues and misuse of the vehicle. These injuries can include orifice injuries, broken limbs, head trauma, skin injuries, and even death.
While all boating use carries the same inherent risk of injury or death as the use of any type of vehicle, all water sports have the additional danger of drowning. As such, proper warnings, safety devices, training, and supervision should be properly explained and used. Furthermore, all State and Federal laws should be followed.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE HURT AFTER A BOATING ACCIDENT?
- Assess for fatalities or injuries. If you or someone you loved one was injured, seek medical attention;
- Call 911 and make sure that the paramedics and police conduct a formal investigation – if your injury was caused by the negligence of someone else or a malfunction of the vehicle contact your lawyer;
How will a lawyer help me with my boating or water sports injury?
- After all injured parties have been attended to by emergency personnel, the next step is to retain a lawyer so that they can immediately retain the services of a boat reconstruction expert – to investigate the cause of the crash;
- Once retained, the attorney can immediately begin to investigate the facts surrounding the incident as well as begin to secure the pieces of the watercraft before the pieces sink or float way (this evidence gathering becomes very difficult if not impossible and the investigation has not begun) and to send the proper letters to make sure that the boat is not tampered with prior to conducting an inspection of the boat;
- Your legal team can even help with locating witnesses so that witness accounts of the accident can be obtained. This is critical as it must be done quickly before memories fade or visitors leave the recreational park, water area, or campgrounds.
BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL
Of the total boating accidents on Texas waters, 50% involve the use of alcohol. Anyone suspected of drinking can be tested by a Texas Game Warden – that’s right, the game warden has jurisdiction in most cases. The legal limit of blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%; if you drink more than that, then you can be fined, jailed, and lose your driver’s license. People operating boats are often held to a higher standard because boating accidents injure and kill people every year.
If you suspect the person that injured you was under the influence of a drug or alcohol, be sure to let the investigating police officer or game warden know and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Here at the Caquias Law Firm, we are committed to helping people that have been injured by the negligence of others. We have the resources and experience to investigate and fight your boating injury or death claim Call today for a free consultation if you or a loved one was injured by someone else’s negligence while boating, on a jet ski or other water sport vehicle. Call today for a free consultation if you were injured on the water by someone else’s negligence. We are here to help you.