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Boat Accidents in California

Being a coastal state, California is a popular destination or residence for those who take to the water for work or recreation whether it’s on the coastline or in one of the many lakes throughout the state. The high amount of boat traffic is not without its perils, however. As any avid boater knows, California has a variety of laws in place to protect those who operate boats, are passengers in them or are involved in non-boating water recreation. Some of these laws include:

  • There must be a life jacket available on board the boat for each passenger;
  • Navigation lights must be displayed at all times;
  • No passengers may ride on a part of the boat where there is any danger of falling overboard;
  • The number of fire extinguishers and amount of ventilation and bilge water must conform to regulations;
  • Boats cannot be operated in areas where there are swimmers or divers; and
  • No vessel should have to abruptly swerve or cut speed in order to avoid a collision.

In addition to the above regulations, California has passed many laws that limit the speed at which boats may operate. There are also further regulations based on countless variables, such as the degrees of visibility, the amount of boat traffic in a given area, the prevailing weather conditions, and a plethora of other potential hazards. Despite these stalwart attempts to regulate boat usage and traffic, however, hundreds of people are injured in boat-related accidents each year–whether it be on a cruise ship, privately-owned boat, ferry, Jet Ski, or any other watercraft.


Any avid boater knows, California has a variety of laws in place to protect those who operate boats, are passengers in them or are involved in non-boating water recreation.


Although the number of boating accidents has decreased from the 90s to the present day, the number of injuries and deaths remain very high. According to a joint report from the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, 2009 saw short of 5,000 accidents involving recreational boats alone, with over three thousand injuries and 736 fatalities. Of these deaths, 6.4% occurred in California, which is the largest percentage in the whole of the United States.

The Boating Safety Division of the Coast Guard recently pointed out that accidents while boating are turning out to be of great alarm amid all those who enjoy participating in recreational boating and boating aficionados alike because of the rise in the amount of injuries suffered in recreational boating accidents. Some common injuries include: broken bones, internal trauma, amputation, burns of varying degree, scarring, concussions, and even spinal cord trauma. Too often, this damage is inflicted due to boating operator inattention, failure to adhere to the safety laws, or even excessive alcohol use while at the helm.

Johnson Attorneys Group – The Best Boating Accident Lawyers in California

If you or a loved one found yourself injured in a boating accident in California, don’t let the responsible party avoid responsibility for negligent or reckless behavior. Preserve any evidence that you can and then send it to us here at Johnson Attorneys Group, our skilled boat accident attorneys will handle the rest. We will help you regain your health and see that you and anyone else involved will receive fair compensation for any loss or suffering.

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