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Avoid a Legal Shipwreck: The 5 Most Important Tips For Practicing Safe Boating

At any given moment, the San Francisco Bay and surrounding tributaries are a flurry with recreational boaters looking to soak up every moment of the west coast sun. However, as we have seen in our practice, boating trips are not always smooth sailing. Not to take the wind out of your sails, but boating accidents are a common source of personal injury lawsuits and you should always be prepared in the event of an accident just as you would if involved in a motor vehicle crash. Below, we have provided a couple tips for you to remember next time you launch your watercraft into the peaceful serenity of the Bay or any other recreational boating area.

Tip #1 – Practice Defensive Boating

The concept of defensive driving is equally applicable in the context of recreational boating. In addition to keeping informed as to incoming weather patterns or potential natural hazards, you should always maintain a slow, safe speed when entering heavy traffic. Always remember that every other boat has the potential to run into you and be on the constant lookout for other boaters.

Tip #2 – Never Boat Under the Influence

It goes without saying, but boating under the influence is a crime punishable by penalties, fines and potential jail time. While I recognize that boating and beer may go hand in hand, elect a designated (and qualified) boater before imbibing. If you are involved in an accident while under the influence, you will face not only criminal penalties but a strong likelihood of civil liability as well. Other boaters could sue you for damage to their boat or medical injuries, so put a lid on it.

Tip #3 – Treat a Boating Accident Like a Motor Vehicle Accident

Just like the aftermath of an auto accident, make certain all involved individuals are safe and out of harm’s way. From there, exchange information with the other boaters, including those who were just passengers – you never know who you may need as a witness down the road. While California does not require boaters to carry insurance, it is always good practice to check and see if the other boater is covered. Of course, if you have insurance, be sure to exchange your information as well. Take pictures of any damage to either vessel and call for assistance from law enforcement if necessary.

Tip #4 – Keep Accurate and Up-to-Date Records of Medical Expenses and Property Repair

If you or your boat is injured in a boating collision, make sure to keep and record all medical expenses or invoices for boat repair. If, after speaking with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney, you decide to pursue a cause of action against the other boater, evidence of your personal and financial damages is necessary to include as evidence.  Safe boating isn’t always possible, but you can keep yourself protected in the case of an accident.

Tip #5 – Contact a San Francisco Area Personal Injury Attorney Today

Last but not least, if you were recently injured or incurred damage to your boat after a recent collision or boating incident, contact the personal injury attorneys of Nelson Barry today. We are a preeminent personal injury law firm in the San Francisco area and can help you prepare your claim against the other boater responsible for your injuries. For more information or to arrange for a consultation, call the Law Offices of Nelson C. Barry at (415) 587-0550.


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