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New York Boat Accident Frequently Asked Questions

What is a boating accident?

The US Coast Guard defines a boating accident as when one of the following events occurs:

A person is hurt beyond the help of first aid or dies;

A person on a boat disappears; or

A boat causes or sustains serious damage valued at over $500.

What types of boats are commonly involved in boating accidents?

The most common watercraft to be involved in an accident are a power boat or a jet ski.

What are some types of commonly seen boating accidents?

The most common type of boating accident is usually from the propeller or a collision with another boat. Also, jet skis can’t be steered when the throttle is released, which can often cause an accident. Drivers can also collide with another boat in an emergency situation. People can also fall overboard and drown.

Can a driver of a boat who acted negligently be held responsible for my injuries?

Yes. The rules surrounding boating require that the boat be operated in a safe manner. There are rules for how boats should properly pass another watercraft, and what safety equipment should be available. If these rules are violated, they can be held responsible for any injuries that occur as a result.

What type of safety measures can prevent an injury or death from occurring?

Always wear a life jacket. Every year, over one half of all boating fatalities are due to drowning;

Never consume alcohol;

Take boating safety classes; and

Be aware of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a concern when you are below deck.

What are the most common causes of boating accidents?

Speeding and reckless driving;

Failure to keep a lookout;

Alcohol consumption;


Restricted vision;

Hazardous weather; and equipment failure.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a boating accident?

This will depend on where the accident occurred. Depending on the location, it could be subject to federal maritime laws or state law. It is important to consult with a lawyer promptly to determine the filing deadline.

Who is liable is a crew member is injured?

If they are employed as a maritime worker over navigable waters, they will be subject to federal protections. Under this law, an employer is liable for a crew member’s injury or death.

What are navigable waters?

This means all waters which are capable of transporting people or cargo between states or countries.

Can anyone have a personal injury claim if they are injured on a watercraft?

People who could have a claim are a social guest, a seaman, a business visitor, or a simmer/bystander/water skier.

Are boating accidents often fatal?

Statistics report that there are approximately 1,000 fatalities in the US per year.

What percentage of injuries are caused by boat operators?

Negligent boat operators account for 70% of all accidents.

What are common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning on a boat?

Inadequate ventilation;

Gas engines;

Proximity to exhaust;

Faulty air conditioning systems.

What is a personal watercraft?

The US Coast Guard considers a personal watercraft as an inboard boat. That means that means that the craft uses an inboard water jet pump. They are ridden standing up, sitting down or kneeling.

How common are personal watercraft?

It is estimated that there are 1 million craft operational today in the US.

How many accidents occur annually?

It is estimated that there are 5000 personal water craft accidents annually, causing 2,000 injuries and approximately 100 deaths.

Should I contact a lawyer if I have been in a boating accident?

Yes. It is important to speak with a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. Also, be aware that there are time deadlines for filing a claim that must be adhered to. So, it is important to not delay.

I have been injured in a boating accident. What should I do?

Collect all personal contact information from the person(s) involved in the accident, as well as their insurance information. Be sure to take photographs of the scene of the accident, your injuries and damage to your and the other party’s boat. Contact a lawyer without delay.

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