Sacramento Boating Accidents Lawyers

100+ years of combined experience fighting for you

Water recreation activities are popular in the summer. Family and friends enjoying the sun and water. Recreational activities such as boating, sailing, parasailing, jet skiing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, water ski tubes, teak surfing, kayaking, and canoeing, present special dangers for serious injury, death, and property damage.

Water recreation injuries require an understanding of complex legal issues that pertain specifically to water sports activities and accidents. The boating accident attorneys of Kershaw, Cook & Talley have the expertise and experience to help injured victims of boating accidents and water sports injuries.

Boating Accident Statistics

In 2014, the Coast Guard counted 4,064 accidents that involved 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries, and approximately $39 million dollars of property damage as a result of recreational boating accidents. The fatality rate was 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 10.6% increase from 2013 (United States Coast Guard).

Common causes of boating accidents and water recreation injuries:

  • Alcohol use (boating under the influence)
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Not wearing life jackets
  • Careless or reckless operation of the vessel
  • Speeding
  • Distracted or inattentive operation of the vessel
  • Unsafe or careless behavior of passengers
  • Defective equipment or equipment failure
  • Lack of proper operation training

Water Sports Injuries and Alcohol Use

According to the United States Coast Guard:

  • A boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver, drink for drink.
  • The penalties for boating under the influence (BUI) can include large fines, revocation of operator privileges and serious jail terms.
  • The use of alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities.

It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state.

Life Jackets Save Lives

Drowning is one of the top five causes of death in water recreation. In 2014, the number of deaths from drowning were 418, 337 of the victims were not wearing life jackets. In other words, where cause of death was known, 78% of fatal boating victims drowned. 84% of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets (personal flotation device or PFD). All states require children wear life jackets when involved with any type of water sport. Life jackets can save your life if your vessel capsizes or sinks, if you are thrown off, unable to swim, injured or if you are unconscious from carbon monoxide fumes.

How to Choose the Right Life Jacket Brochure – PDF

Carbon Monoxide: The Odorless Killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. CO is very dangerous because it clings to your blood better than oxygen does, and consequently blocks oxygen in your body. Quick exposure to high concentrations or prolonged exposure to low concentrations can kill you. Engines, gas generators, cooking ranges, and space and water heaters are sources of carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to seasickness and intoxication, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritation

Courtesy of the United States Coast Guard:

Where CO May Accumulate?

Carbon monoxide can accumulate anywhere in or around your boat.

How Can It Accumulate?

Inadequately ventilated canvas enclosures Illustration Inadequately ventilated canvas enclosures.
Exhaust gas trapped in enclosed places illustration Exhaust gas trapped in enclosed places.
Blocked exhaust outlets illustration Blocked exhaust outlets.
Another vessel's exhaust illustration Another vessel’s exhaust.
CO from the boat docked next to you can be just as deadly.
Station wagon effect or back drafting illustration “Station wagon effect” or back drafting.
CO can remain in or around your boat illustration At slow speeds, while idling, or stopped. Be aware that CO can remain in or around your boat at dangerous levels even if your engine or the other boat’s engine is no longer running!

Boat owners and operators have a duty to their passengers, and may be responsible for serious injury or death. If you were injured in a boating accident or water recreation accident, call our boating accident attorneys at (916) 520-6639, or fill out and submit contact form found on this page.

Start your free case consultation today, speak with a Sacramento boating accident lawyer at Kershaw, Cook & Talley.


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