Boating personal watercraft Accidents Lake Mead

Posted over 1 year ago. Applies to Las Vegas, NV, 3 helpful votes



Boat operators owe a duty to those they injure

The laws protect victims from and requires compensation for personal injury caused by a negligent lack of due care. Boat operators owe a duty to those they injure on their vessels. This this liability extends to passengers who engage in recklessness behavior and impede the safe operation of a boat .


Wearing a Life Jacket is Still the Most Important Step Boaters Can Take to Ensure Their Safety on the Water

Boating fatalities jumped 12.8 percent in 2011 and are now at the highest level since 1998, according to the U.S. Coast Guard's just released report 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics. Last year, 533 of the 758 boating fatalities resulted from drowning, with 84 percent of the drowning victims not reported as wearing a life jacket. The Coast Guard is urging recreational boaters to make sure everyone on board wears their life jacket at all times on the water.


Boating accident report

Federal law requires the operator - or owner, if the operator is deceased or unable to make the report - to file a boating accident report with the State reporting authority when, as a result of an occurrence that involves a boat or its equipment: A person dies A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 (lower amounts in some states and territories) or more The boat is destroyed.


Seven out of ten who drowned were in open motorboats less than 21 feet in length.

the Coast Guard counted 4,730 accidents that involved 736 deaths, 3,358 injuries and approximately $36 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Three-fourths (75%) of all fatal boating accidents in 2009 resulted from drowning. EIGHTY-FOUR PERCENT WERE NOT WEARING LIFE JACKETS! Seven out of ten who drowned were in open motorboats less than 21 feet in length. The fatality rate was 5.8 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 3.6% increase from last year's fatality rate of 5.6 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Compared to 2008, the number of accidents decreased 1.23%, the number of deaths increased 3.81% and the number of injuries increased 0.81%. Only fourteen percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction. Operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, improper lookout and alcohol rank as the top five factors


Reported injuries

Reported injuries rose from 3,474 in 2006 to 3,686 in 2007, and reported accidents rose from 4,967 in 2006 to 5,223 in 2007, and then dropped to 4,789 in 2008. There were 3,358 injuries reported in 2009. And although 2006 set a record for property damage at $43,670,424, 2007 topped that again with property damage reported to be a whopping $53,288,858 with $54 million again in 2008. It's estimated that there was $36 million in damage in 2009. Many boating accidents were the result of alcohol use, and most of all boating fatalities could have been prevented by wearing personal flotation devices. Remember, drinking while boating is just as dangerous as drinking while driving an automobile. If you do either, you'd be better off in the long run to donate your boat or donate a car to charity rather than becoming another boating accident or automobile accident statistic. Personal watercraft deaths were down from 79 in 1995 to 54 in 1996, but rose to high of 84 in 1997.


Boating fatalities

Recreational boating fatalities in the States, five U. S. Territories, and the District of Columbia dropped to a record low of 676 in 2004,, and then rose slightly in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, there were 685 boating fatalities reported by the CG Recreational Boating Accident Report Database (BARD), and in 2009, that figure rose to 736. The highest number of recorded boating fatalities was an incredible 1,750 in 1973, with 90% of those fatalities caused by drowning. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 672 people died from boating related accidents in 2010 - a decrease of nearly 9 percent from 2009. However, approximately 88 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.


Jet Skis or Ski-Doos, a responsibility to safely operate

Operators of boats and other personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis or Ski-Doos, have a responsibility to safely operate their watercraft and protect both their passengers as well as other people around them on the water. As boat accident attorneys who have successfully recovered money on behalf of people injured by negligent watercraft operators, we regularly discover that there is an utter indifference to applicable laws.


Personal water craft

Personal water craft are common, and so are accidents involving them. Realistically they are not any more dangerous than any other water craft, however it is the way people operate them and an apparent lack of common courtesy that causes many of their problems (just sit and watch people on Jet Skis and study their actions, you will find it quite interesting). A personal water craft is a motorboat under the law. It must be registered, and must abide by all the rules that other boats must follow. You are required to carry safety equipment which includes life preservers and fire extinguishers. A Jet Ski is not a child's toy.


Jet Ski accidents are most commonly caused by speeding

Jet Ski accidents are most commonly caused by speeding, failing to look ahead, minimal instruction on how to properly operate the craft, misunderstanding sea conditions, alcohol or drug use and not following safety laws. Since Personal Watercraft and Jet Ski riders are so close to the water and generally exposed, they are extremely vulnerable to injury or death during an accident. This is why it is so important for riders to understand boating laws, take boating courses, wear highly visible clothing, operate at a safe speed, not ride in heavy seas, not ride with a drunken operator, and above all, wear a life jacket.


Operator Inexperience

Operator inexperience is the leading cause of boat accidents in Arizona and nationwide, and has been for 15 years.Boat owners aren't the only ones who need to learn how to boat safely. If you don't own a watercraft, rental opportunities abound. Choices range from taking a houseboat out for a week on the Lake to renting a personal watercraft for an hour on the Colorado River. When you rent, make sure the rental company explains the watercraft's controls and safety equipment to you. And don't rent a watercraft if you don't know the laws and navigational rules of the water.


Operator Inattention

A lot of things on the water compete for one's attention. But don't let the dream of landing that next big largemouth bass or the possibility of making friends with the boat full of beautiful people next to you become a distraction -- pay attention to what matters. Remember, boats do not have brakes. Water adds an element of unpredictability when you need to react quickly. Operator inattention has been the No. 2 cause of boat accidents for the past 15 years.


Passenger/Skier Behavior

The operator of the watercraft is responsible for all passengers. Keep them seated while underway, and don't let them obstruct your view. If your passengers' inappropriate actions get you pulled over, you still get the ticket. That can make the rest of the day a little uncomfortable for everyone aboard. And don't tow a skier who wants to ride in a reckless manner. This can get you both in trouble and cause accidents. When pulling a skier, a designated observer must be in the boat. You also must display a 12-inch by 12-inch red or orange flag while a skier is in the water.


Equipment Failure

Like it or not, regular maintenance is part of owning a watercraft. Your boat is an investment worth protecting, so stay away from taking shortcuts that may cost you more in the long run. Proper maintenance also helps protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning (see "Carbon Monoxide, A Silent Killer," below ). If there is a chance you'll still be out after the sun goes down, check that your navigational lights work before leaving the dock or slip.


Reckless Operation

The following activities are considered reckless and should be avoided: allowing a passenger to ride on the bow, transom or gunwales of your watercraft while it is underway; intentionally splashing other watercraft; jumping a wake in the vicinity of another watercraft while on a personal watercraft. Take a moment to observe how boaters around you are operating their vessels. If you're not in the norm, you may be operating recklessly or negligently. At all times, a wise boater maintains a safe reaction interval from other boaters.


Failure to Yield

Whether operators do not understand navigational rules, or just let their egos collide (moments before their boats do), failure to yield causes crashes. Taking a boating education class and being alert while on the water can lower your chances of run-ins with other boats. All boaters need to know the meaning and implication of "stand on" and "give way."


Congested Waters and Hazardous Waters

Saturdays and Sundays. Be extra-diligent on busy holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. And don't forget about spring break, which typically takes place during the month of March. The numerous colleges and universities taking breaks at different times can make most of the month noticeably busier.


Excessive Speed and Alcohol Use

Excessive?Speed Boats are bigger and faster than ever. Just because your watercraft can go 70-plus mph doesn't mean it should be operated that fast. Slowing down increases your odds of seeing people and objects in the water, sandbars and other hazards. It also increases your general awareness of what's going on around you. Many waters provide great wildlife viewing opportunities, but only if you slow down to appreciate them. Alcohol?Use When it comes to alcohol consumption, an operator on the water must obey the same laws as a driver behind the wheel of a car on the roadway. You cannot be impaired to the slightest degree or have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding 0.08. That means if you can feel the effects of alcohol at all and choose to operate, you're breaking the law and endangering the lives of your passengers and fellow boaters. If you've had too many, designate another operator.



Check the manufacturer's capacity plate for the maximum weight or number of individuals your vessel can safely carry on board. Disregarding this requirement can have serious secondary consequences. Having more people on board during an accident can lead to more injuries or deaths, putting pressure on limited rescue and law enforcement resources. It can turn an accident scene into a triage situation. In my experience, it is rare that there are enough lifejackets aboard overcrowded vessels.


Boating accidents leave victuims traumatic injuries

Boating accidents leave victuims traumatic injuries like head and brain injures. If you have been badly injured in a boat accident or hurt in a Jet Ski accident, get a good boat accident attorney who can help you understand your rights and determine liability. Negligence lawsuits are designed to allow you to recover for doctor and hospital bills, physical injury and therapy, burial costs, legal fees, and wages from disability or death. comprehensive awards can help injured individuals and their families heal and move on with their lives.

Additional Resources

Howard Roitman, Esq. (702) 631-5650

Lake Mead

An Analysis of Visitor Risk in the National Park System

Lake Mead Archive

Boat Propeller Accident Statistics / BARD Database: Historical Calls for Improving Completeness, Accuracy, and Ease of Use

important maritime cases in the legal section

Reference Guide to State Boating Laws

Nevada Government

Clark County Govrnment

Las Vegas Government


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