Stockton Accident Lawyer Explains How to Stay Safe on The Water While Boating

Everyone looks forward to spending time on the water in the warmer months, especially in the hot California sun shine. But it’s important to practice proper safety procedures while on the water and to remember that not everyone is as smart and careful as you. If you go on the boat often, it may be a good idea to take a boating education course. Statistics from the last five years show that three quarters of California boaters who were involved in fatal crashes had not taken a boating safety course. Often, the individuals who die in boating collisions are not wearing life jackets, which is a very simple way to increase your survival chances. While you may trust the driver of your boat and think it’s unnecessary to wear life jackets, it’s impossible to know the qualifications of others out on the water. In any circumstance, if you have been in a boating accident, make sure to speak to a highly skilled Stockton accident lawyer to learn what legal actions you can take.

California has many laws related to boat safety. If you are involved in a boating accident with another individual who is exhibiting any of the following behavior, it may be possible to show they were at fault and that they are responsible for whatever injuries occurred.

California’s Boating Laws

Below is a small portion of the many laws California has passed regarding what is acceptable and necessary when boating on its waters. Of course, it’s always best to consult with a Stockton accident lawyer as it pertains to your circumstance.

Reckless or Negligent Operation of the Vessel

This is categorized as failure to exercise the necessary care to prevent the endangerment of life, limb, property, or any person. Examples may include but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • Maneuvering towed skiers or other devices in order to “buzz” or spray others
  • To pass the towline over another vessel or skier
  • Navigating a vessel, skis, or any other device between a towing vessel and the items it is towing
  • Jumping or attempting to jump in the wake of another vessel within 100 feet of the towing vessel
  • Operating the vessel at a high speed or erratically in a congested waterway
  • Operating the vessel in a way that it or another vessel must abruptly swerve or abruptly cut speed in order to avoid collision
  • Operating near or through areas being used by swimmers or divers
  • Operating the vessel in such a way that it collides with another vessel, object, or person
  • Chasing or otherwise harassing wildlife with the vessel

Improper Speed or Distance

This is categorized as failing to maintain a proper speed and/or distance from other vessels, objects, or people. Examples include:

  • Excessive speeding. Speed should be based on traffic, weather conditions, visibility, and potential hazards. If there are no speed limit signs, operators must not operate at speeds that may endanger others and that provide the opportunity to stop the vessel in a safe and reasonable manner.
  • Failure to operate at a slow or no wake speed in “No Wake” areas
  • Operating at speeds that cause damage to a person or property within “No Wake” areas
  • Operating at speeds more than 5 miles per hour within: 200 feet of swimming areas, diving platforms, passenger landings, or areas where vessels are moored or 100 feet of swimmers

Riding on the Bow or Gunwales

Permitting individuals to ride on the bow, gunwales, or any other place where there is a danger of falling overboard, or in a position or manner that is obviously dangerous, is prohibited. This provision does not apply to a vessel’s crew when anchoring or mooring, or when required for the management of a sail.

Unsafe Conditions

This category of prohibited behavior is characterized by the operation of a vessel in a condition that causes danger to the occupants or others on the waterways. While this may sound similar to reckless operation, it is more about the actual state of the vessel rather than the maneuvering of its driver. Examples include:

  • Inadequate number of life jackets
  • Inadequate number of fire extinguishers
  • Dangerous objects on board

Law enforcement officers are permitted to require the operator to take immediate corrective action or to return to shore if any such unsafe conditions are present.

There are many more rules and regulations regarding the operation and maintenance of boats on California waters. If you are involved in an incident on a boat that is not following the law or with another vessel that is not following the law, you may be entitled to compensation for any damage or injury you incur. Be sure to contact a qualified Stockton accident lawyer to listen to the details of your case and assist you in legal action, if necessary.

Call a Stockton Accident Lawyer if You’ve Been Involved in a Boating Accident

For over 10 years, Lance V. Friel has been helping victims of accidents all throughout Northern California. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from any type of accident, including a boating accident, give us a call at (209) 464-800 to speak to an experienced Stockton accident lawyer. We fight hard to get you the legal justice and financial compensation you deserve.