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With summer coming to an end and fall quickly approaching, many people are taking their vacation time and escaping to the cottage to enjoy the last of the good weather.

If you are one of these people, or you have friends or family members who own cottages and invite you up from time to time, it’s important to remember that some outdoor cottage activities have an increased risk of injury.

One activity in particular is boating.

Whether you are out on the water for a nice relaxing boat ride, or you are towing friends and family members on water skis or tubes, unpredictable outcomes can occur.

Owning and operating a boat is similar to owning and operating a car. You must follow safety regulations like the speed limit, right of way, traffic signals and signs.

But what happens when boat operators fail to abide by these safety regulations and water rules? The unfortunate reality is that accidents and injuries can ensue.

Common Types of Boating Accidents

While the specific circumstances are often unique, there are some types of boating accidents that occur more commonly among boats and other watercrafts. These types of accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Capsizing
  • Hitting a stationary object such as a dock, pier or rock
  • Passenger falling overboard
  • Two vessels colliding
  • Flooding that leads to sinking
  • Water sport-related accidents

Common Types of Injury:

The nature and severity of injuries are dependent upon the circumstances of each accident. However, because the majority of these accidents happen out on the open water, and involve boats and watercrafts that have exposed engines and propellers, the risk of serious injury increases. Common injuries from the accidents listed above include, but are not limited to:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Drowning
  • Fractured/broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Burns

If you’ve sustained a boating-related injury and the operator was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. However, to receive the compensation you are rightfully entitled to, you must first prove that the boat operator was being negligent at the time you sustained your injury.

Boat operators owe their passengers a duty of reasonable care. This means that the operators owes his/her passengers, and anyone in the vicinity of the boat, to act in a reasonable and safe manner. Before being able to operate motorized boats or watercraft, the operator must become licensed to ensure they understand the safety regulations of both vessels and waterways, and prove their competency.

This licencing system means that all motorized boat operators are aware of the responsibilities that come with operating a boat or watercraft.

So, when passengers become injured due to the negligence of the operator, the injured individuals mayhave the right to seek compensation.

Acts of negligence on behalf of a boat operator can include:

  • Careless or reckless operation like driving the boat while intoxicated or speeding
  • Operator intention
  • Lack of proper spotter or lookout
  • Operator inexperience

If the boat operator disobeyed speed limits, was intoxicated while driving or operated the boat without a licence, they did not provide their passengers with a duty of reasonable care. As a result, they could be considered negligent.

If you or someone you know has sustained injuries due to the negligence of a boat operator, the best thing to do is to contact a personal injury lawyer. The personal injury lawyers at Harrison Pensa can help you go over your options and build your case so you can receive the compensation you deserve. To get started with your free consultation, call us at 1-855-744-9228, or send us an email at personalinjurygroup@harrisonpensa.com.

If you haven’t been injured in a boating accident, but plan on spending some time on the open water in the near future, make sure you are aware of the risks and potential dangers of operating – and simply being a passenger on – a motor boat or water craft. If you are only going along for the ride, make sure your operator gives you the duty of reasonable care.

A word from our clients

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"I am a former client of Mr. Sean Mackintosh at Harrison Pensa law firm. I highly recommend Mr. Mackintosh and his diligent team. They are attentive" Read More

January 8, 2016

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HARRISON PENSA ™ is a full-service law firm representing private & business interests throughout southwestern Ontario.

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