New Jersey Boat Accident Lawyers
Proudly serving all of New Jersey
At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., we understand that your life can be altered in just a split second. Recreational boating is a fantastic family activity that provides an opportunity to enjoy nature. But accidents can and do happen, and when things go wrong out on the water, there’s no easy help available.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A simple call to schedule a free consultation with one of our New Jersey accident attorneys can answer your questions. Our number is (609) 240-0040, and we are here to help you understand all of the legal aspects of your situation.
Negligence and carelessness play a large role in many boating accidents. Monitoring weather conditions, observing surrounding conditions such as other boats in the area, and paying undivided attention when operating a boat can eliminate many potentially fatal accidents. In addition, wearing safety gear can be a life-changing choice. Below are the most common causes of recreational boating accidents in the United States:
- Operator Error: Inattention or poor judgment by the operator of the boat is the number one cause of boat accidents. Conditions on the water can change rapidly, and boat operators must constantly monitor conditions that could be hazardous to the vessel or its passengers. In New Jersey, residents as young as 13 can operate certain motorized vessels after completing only a boating safety course, so inexperienced operators are another big danger.
- Excessive Speed: Much like driving a car, operating a boat at safe speeds is critical. Unfortunately, speed limit signs cannot be posted beyond the harbor, but it is the responsibility of every operator to know and understand safe boating speeds for the surrounding conditions.
- Impaired Operator: New Jersey law prohibits anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol from operating a vessel. It is also illegal for the owner of a vessel to permit anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to operate the vessel.
Not all boating accidents in New Jersey occur on personal watercraft. There are many different commercial boats that provide transportation or recreation to paying customers. Water taxis and ferries are a common means of transportation on the New Jersey coast and neighboring New York. Fishing excursion boats, sunset cruises, dinner cruises, and charter boats are also active in the area. Cape Liberty in Bayonne sees dozens of cruise ships filter in and out, mostly heading toward the Caribbean.
In the event of an accident at sea, injury victims on these commercial vessels are faced with a business reluctant to admit fault or pay any money. Cruise lines can be especially difficult to deal with, as they have large teams of lawyers to deny liability.
Boating can be a safe and fun activity, but only when proper precautions are taken. In most cases, it is the responsibility of the boat owner to make sure that the boat is in proper working order and that safety equipment is in place and functional. In New Jersey, all vessels must be equipped with one Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on the boat or being towed by the boat. In addition, all children under 12 must be wearing a PFD when the vessel is moving unless they are in a fully enclosed cabin. All vessels must also be equipped with a Class B fire extinguisher, which would be used in the event of a gasoline or oil fire.
These are very simple requirements that address the most common life-threatening accidents on a boat.
However, it is every person’s responsibility to be cautious and make wise choices where safety is concerned. For adults, that means operating a vessel in a safe and responsible manner. It also means adhering to the New Jersey laws regarding alcohol consumption on a boat. And finally, adults need to insist that children wear approved flotation devices. Even skilled swimmers can be knocked unconscious the event of an accident and drown. Boat owners and operators need to be extra vigilant to make sure that children are enjoying boating in a safe manner.
If you were a guest on a recreational vessel or a paying customer on a commercial vessel, you may not have been aware of all of the laws and regulations for safe and legal operation of a boat. You placed your trust in the boat owner or operator.
But after a boating accident, you need to have a reliable professional to answer your questions and protect your rights as a victim. Contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., today for a free consultation. We will review your case and let you know if you have a valid claim for your injuries and damages. Call at (609) 240-0040 or email us to have your legal questions answered.
- Life Jacket Wear / Wearing your Life Jacket - U. S. Coast Guard
- Boating Safety Manual - New Jersey State Police
- Boating Safety - National Safety Council
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