Boating Laws and Regulations. Today’s guest blog is by Pacific Attorney Group PLC. The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Attorney Mark E. Hall.

Boating Laws and Regulations

Boating Laws and Regulations

Every year hundreds of people get injured and many are killed in the boating accidents. Such mishaps happen on a cruise ship, a ferry, on the privately owned boat, a jet-ski or on other watercraft. This is a serious problem in California. Consult a capable Boating Accident Attorney California without any delay if ever suffered from the boating accident.

Causes of Boating Accidents

Most of the boating accidents are preventable. Most of them happen due to inattention or inexperienced operator. People usually underestimate the risks of operating the watercraft. Majority of the accident news reports show the incidents happen due to the collision with the other vessels, mechanical defect or when an individual falls overboard. One important factor in many cases is alcohol consumption. According to the United States Coast Guard estimate that the boat operators with 0.10 or more BAC are 10 times more likely to be killed in the accidents compared to the other operators with less or no alcohol drinking habit. Boating accident news in California involved 38% of fatal boating accidents. The two-thirds of these victims are passengers.

Boating Laws and Regulations

Boating Accident Reports

The vessel operator must report the accidents. Also, provide their names, contact info, and vessel registration numbers and assistance to the injured people.  The vessel owner or operator must prepare a written report and submit to the boating and waterways department if the accident causes:

  • The disappearance or deaths of any individual.
  • An injury that needs medical treatment or
  • Either cause complete loss of the watercraft or the property damage is above $500.

Must file the report within the 48 hours of the accident in case of injury, disappearance or death and within 10 days when the property is damaged.

Boating Laws and Regulations

Boating Laws and Regulation

Boat operators and owners are required to obey federal and state laws regarding the operation and maintenance of vessels. According to California boating law, it is prohibited to operate a vessel in a negligent or reckless manner so to put in danger the property, limb or life of any person. This includes operating through or near the areas that are used by drivers or swimmers, operating in a way that the vessel abruptly turns sharply, erratically operate or cut speed to avoid the collision. The operating vessel at an improper speed is also prohibited.

The law also prohibits the boat passengers from riding on the gunwales, bow, or to any site where there is a risk of falling overboard. Operating the watercraft in an unsafe condition is also illegal as it put in danger the lives of vessel occupants. These unsafe conditions are inadequate numbers of fire extinguishers or life jackets, fuel leakage, excessive water consumption in the bilge, failure to show navigation lights, and improper ventilation.

Boating Laws and Regulations

The federal law states that the vessel must be equipped with the safety devices approved by the United States Coast Guard. In 1971, Congress passed the Federal Boat Safety Act. This law gave the United Coast Guard the charge to establish standard safety equipment for boats. Equipment include flame arrestors, sound producing devices, fire extinguishers, gas ventilation devices, and visual distress signals. In addition to that, the federal rules require specific types of life jackets or PFDs (personal floatation devices for all persons on board.