As ‘Click It or Ticket’ Campaign Continues for Drivers, Boaters Are Encouraged to Wear Life Jackets

Just as seatbelts can save lives in the event of a car accident, life jackets can save lives in the event of a recreational boating accident. In 2011, 758 people died in recreational boating accidents in the United States, a 12.8 percent increase over the 672 deaths in 2010. Of those who died in 2011, 70 percent drowned, with 84 percent reportedly not wearing a life jacket.

Maritime law requires vessels to have enough life jackets aboard for each person on the vessel. Recreational boat owners and operators who violate this law may be subject to civil penalties. Also, when the Coast Guard catches a boat on the water with too few life jackets, it is sent back to the pier.

The Coast Guard recommends that recreational boat owners and operators go one step further by requiring their passengers to wear life jackets at all times the vessel is underway. According to a May 2011 news release by the Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office, “a life jacket is the single-most important piece of survival equipment a boater can wear, is the first line of survival for unexpected falls overboard, and buys time necessary for rescue.”

When a recreational boating accident results in serious injuries, victims may be entitled to compensation. If drunk boating, excessive speed and/or other negligence contributed to the accident that caused your injuries, or if there was a lack of proper lifesaving equipment aboard the vessel, you may have a case. Our firm has obtained payment for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and impairment of earning capacity for victims of recreational boating accidents.

Need to learn about your legal rights? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers