Boating Accidents

Compensation for Boating Accidents and Injuries

Boating is one of America’s favorite past times, and for good reason. With so much access to both fresh and salt water perfect for relaxation and enjoyment, fishing, and sport, there are more and more families purchasing boats to enjoy in their free time. Boating is a sport, and an enjoyable one. In many areas it is common to attach sporting equipment such as skis and tubes to the back of boats for enjoyment and family fun. Others, still, ride along with their boats on their jet skis, boats park at small islands and shallow areas off shore for days spent on the land grilling, drinking and enjoying being in the great outdoors.

Depending on the area, there are lakes, rivers with springs, lagoons, marshes, oceans, inlets, the Intercostal waterway, the Gulf, bays, and areas that are busy and occupied by multiple boats as well as those not quite so busy. There are ample locations in which boat owners can take out their craft and enjoy whatever is their particular flavor and style of boating. Most of these locations, however, are particularly crowded, packed, and not always the safest place to be during busy holiday weekends, summers, spring break and long weekends when the weather is preferable.

While boating is good fun and a way of life for many who live in Greater Binghamton and the Finger Lakes, it also can become a dangerous activity when negligence is involved. With more and more recreational vehicles than ever before on the waterways during the busy summer weekends, it’s not uncommon for people to get hurt on boats, jet skis and even injuries in the water due to the presence of watercraft. For the most part, boating accidents are typically caused by the same factors as vehicle accidents. However, boats do not have brakes and are not as easy to maneuver as vehicles. This makes them far more dangerous accidents than car crashes, and that is a problem for anyone who is involved in a boating accident.

What are the factors that might result in a boating accident?

  1. Inclement weather conditions inappropriate for boating
  2. Sudden bad weather and waves
  3. Driving a boat too fast
  4. Driving a boat too slow
  5. Not paying attention when driving
  6. Drinking and driving a boat
  7. Not following safety requirements for boaters
  8. Not having enough experience behind the helm of a boat

As with all types of vehicle operation, there are rules and requirements in effect for the waterways in your area. Those in charge of the area have rules, laws and requirements that must be met at all times and have put these laws into effect for your own safety. Additionally, coast guard and police patrol the waters in every area to ensure that all boaters are following the laws and the rules and not putting their own lives, or the lives of others, at risk. However, even these professionals cannot prevent the accidents that occur when boaters are not careful.

Every year, millions of dollars in damages are caused by boating accidents, and nearly 40% of all those involved in boating accidents are killed or seriously injured as a result of the accident. If you have been involved in a boating accident, or someone you love has been involved in a boating accident, call Schimmerling Injury Law Firm to speak with experienced boating law attorney Tom Schimmerling. Our focus is you and your needs; providing you with not only the guidance to ensure you have the best chances of being compensated fairly for the accident in which you were involved, but also to help you understand the laws and processes involved.

New York State Boating Laws

Every state in the nation is equipped with similar laws, though some vary from state to state. These laws are designed to ensure that boaters are as safe as possible in the water, and that all people are following each law for the safety and enjoyment of boating. New York State laws for boating are very similar to boating laws in much of the country, but there are a few things that stand out from the rest of the country.

NYS Equipment Laws

All boats that enter any type of water in New York State are required to have certain equipment on board for the safety of all passengers. The required equipment includes the following:

  • Valid registration for all mechanically propelled vessels
  • One United States Coast Guard approved life vest for every person in the boat or being towed behind the boat
  • All persons under 12-years-old must be wearing life vests at all times on all vessels up to 65 feet
  • One throwable flotation device for all boats 16 feet and larger
  • Sound producing device
  • Bell on all boats between 40 and 65 feet
  • Anchor and line
  • Backfire flame arrestor for all inboard boats powered by gas engines
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Visual distress signal for all boats over 16 feet

Maximum Weight and Horsepower

There are certain rules that apply to certain boats of certain sizes in specific waterways. It is imperative that all boaters know and become familiar with these rules in various bodies of water so that they can report anyone who is not operating the correct vessel in any particular waterway.

Registration of a Boat in NYS

All boats in New York State that are mechanically propelled must have a valid registration. This registration is not required to come from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles if your primary residence is not in the state, but valid registration is still required nonetheless. Be sure to check with the rules in New York before operating a boat in the waters here if you plan on staying for a specific amount of time. While visitors are permitted to bring boats with them, they cannot bring them for longer than so many days before the boat has to be legally registered with the state.

Registration is possibly by visiting the New York Department of Motor Vehicles at any local office or online. The process is simple, inexpensive and takes only a few moments to complete to legally register your boat in the state.

Operation of a Boat or Watercraft

All persons operating a boat in New York must meet all state requirements, including mandatory education and age requirements. Speed limits are posted everywhere there is one in effect, and all boats are required to follow the posted speed limit signs. Additionally, there are laws in effect that must be followed at all times when near a beach or a swimming area people are not in their crafts but in the water.

Not following these laws can be deadly. Boating is a dangerous activity when it is not done correctly and when it is done by those who do not know what they are doing. Very simple laws are in place to ensure that boaters, their passengers, swimmers, and those in smaller crafts are safe at all times. It is easy to avoid injury and/or death by accident if you follow the rules, obey the laws and are sure you are doing everything within your power to protect those in your care and around your vessel when boating.

Serious Injury Caused from a Boat Accident

Anytime you are near or on the water there is a much greater chance of danger. Boaters swimming can drown, be swept away and be lost at sea depending on their life jacket, their ability to swim, other boaters and the weather at any given time. Even an accident that is not related to the water craft but occurs when you are off the craft in the water can result in death or permanent damage to the body or the brain. It is not uncommon for near drowning incidents to result in brain damage, broken bones, lacerations, limb loss and even other issues when a boat is involved.

Many boating injuries require very extensive and expensive medical care that can change the way a person lives their life from this point forward. The water and water crafts and vessels are highly dangerous for those who know nothing about them and the proper use of each piece of equipment, and it’s dangerous. When a person is the victim of a boating accident, it could mean long periods of time in the hospital, the inability to work, loss of pay and excessive medical bills. Additionally, there are more than just physical injuries to worry about. There are emotional and traumatic brain injuries to worry about, as well.

Injured in a Boating Accident?  Request a Consultation Today

If you or someone you love has been involved in a boating accident of any kind in the Binghamton or Ithaca area, call the Schimmerling Injury Law Firm today if you are the victim of someone else’s negligence in a boat or on the water. Our experienced team led by attorney Tom Schimmerling know that accidents such as these are dangerous to not only your body but your mind, your peace of mind and your ability to work. If you are involved in an accident on a waterway, you might be entitled to compensation to cover the medical expenses you incur as well as rehabilitation and losses as far as your own vessel is concerned. Call us today to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve by those who fail to follow the laws of boating.