If you’ve been injured in a boat or watercraft accident, it’s vitally important to find the right attorney.
Southern California is a paradise for people who love being out on the water. Breezy ocean bays and idyllic lakes and rivers all dot the local landscape. It’s not an understatement to say that southern California is one of the premier places in North America for boating and watercraft recreation.
However, access to all of this beautiful water comes with a price: An elevated risk of being seriously injured in a boating or watercraft accident. Because the density of boats, jet skis and other watercraft is higher in southern California, the number of serious accidents is also higher.
Let’s take a closer look at the risks posed by boating and watercraft collisions, and what you need to do if you’re ever involved in one.
Boating Accidents by the Numbers
The U.S. Coast Guard creates a comprehensive watercraft safety report each year. According to the most recent Coast Guard boat safety study, there were:
- 633 boating and watercraft deaths nationwide in 2018.
- 2,629 serious boating and watercraft injuries in 2018.
- 322 boating accidents in southern California in 2016.
- Those accidents resulted in 116 injuries and 14 deaths.
- Alcohol intoxication is the leading cause of boating-related deaths and is involved in 19% of all fatalities.
- The national fatality rate is 5.3 deaths per 100,000 watercraft.
- Boating and watercraft accidents caused $46 million in property damage in 2018.
- The other leading causes of boating and watercraft deaths were: Operator inattention and experience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed.
- 77% of boating fatality victims drowned.
- 84% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.
Following Smart Boating Safety Protocols
In order to avoid becoming a victim of a serious watercraft collision, it’s important to follow some basic safety precautions:
- Never drink while operating a watercraft or board a craft being operated by someone who is drinking.
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Never operate your watercraft at an unsafe speed.
- If you’re operating the watercraft, make sure you have proper training and familiarity with the controls.
- Always pay close attention to your environment.
- If you’re operating a jet ski or a smaller watercraft, never trail too closely to larger boats.
What to Do If You’re in a Watercraft Collision
If you’re unfortunate enough to experience a boating or watercraft accident first-hand, it’s important to remain calm and follow some smart post-accident protocols.
First, check to see if anyone is injured and render necessary first aid. Contact first responders as quickly as possible.
Ensure that the watercraft involved are still seaworthy. If not, quickly move everyone to a safe location.
Once everyone is safe and secure, exchange contact information. Takes photos and video of the damage to the watercraft and the surrounding area. Jot down notes about the incident and ask any witnesses present for their contact information.
Finally, contact an experienced attorney who specializes in boating and watercraft litigation.
Finding the Right Southern California Boat Accident Attorney
At Doyle Law, we have depth of experience to handle even the most complex and challenging boat accident cases.
If you’ve been injured as the result of another person’s negligence, please contact us for a consultation, and let us help you seek fair compensation for what you’ve suffered.