ADMIRALTY / MARITIME LAW

Little mistakes can lead to serious offshore accidents

| Sep 24, 2020 | Uncategorized |

According to the United States Coast Guard, many serious boating accidents to which the Coast Guard responds boil down to what might seem like minor mishaps.

Boats have to be in good working order

For example, a common cause of boating accidents are mechanical problems, including simply running out of gas.

However, while a mechanical failure can be just a frustrating inconvenience when traveling by car, they are downright hazardous on the open water of Louisiana’s coastline and bayous.

For example, if a boat loses all electrical power, then it will be practically invisible at nighttime and very hard to see at dawn and dusk since it won’t have lights.

Moreover, just about any significant mechanical problem could leave a boater stranded a long way from land and, possibly, in danger sinking, running aground or capsizing.

All boats need proper safety equipment

Of course, mechanical failures will happen from time to time even when everyone is taking every possible precaution. Because of this and the possibility of other emergencies, the law requires boats to have proper safety equipment on board.

For example, boats must have enough life jackets which properly fit passengers. Other emergency equipment, like a flashlight and flares, can also prevent a mechanical issue from turning into a tragedy.

Sadly many people choose to ignore these rules. About 50% of all drownings involve a victim who is not wearing a life jacket.

Boaters must watch the weather carefully

Unfortunately, many people either do not pay careful attention to a weather forecast before leaving port or decide to chance it even in the face of unfavorable or potentially hazardous weather conditions.

The Coast Guard says that it has to perform many rescues because a boater choose not to wait a day or two for calmer weather.

Boaters also need to have some basic courtesy

Finally, many accidents could be prevented if the boater had simply exercised some caution while on the water. Traveling too fast for the conditions or not following other rules and conventions can cause collisions, as can trying to operate while under the influence of alcohol of drugs.

Those who have suffered injuries in an offshore boating accident may have legal options available to them.