Preventing Boating Accidents In California

California is a great place to engage in a favorite summertime activity: boating. While Californians are encouraged to enjoy the water, they must keep safety in mind. Boating accidents can cause serious personal injury or worse. Specific laws in California lay out the duty of care boaters must give to each other and other users of water.

Boating Safety Tips

There are many things boaters can do to keep themselves and everyone on the water safe. The driver of the boat should always pay attention to the rest of the waterway, and it is helpful to have a designated lookout as well. There is often a lot going on in the water, and drivers need to make sure they are always keeping a proper distance from other boats and people towed behind.

Many boating accidents happen when towing people behind the vessel. For example, accidents occur when towing inner tubes and wakeboards. Water skiing accidents have declined, but it is still important for drivers to pay attention to skiers to assure that there are no crashes with other boats, other skiers or the shoreline.

Pay attention to all local laws and rules. There are speed limits in certain areas. For example, if a boater is within 200 feet of the beach or passenger landing, the boat's speed limit is only 5 miles per hour.

Boats should not be operated if the driver is intoxicated. Alcohol is involved in about 50 percent of boating deaths in California. Not only should drivers remain sober, but passengers should not be intoxicated either. Passengers are at risk of falling off the boat or causing other problems when under the influence.

Police and Being on the Water

All peace officers or police officers in California have the authority to stop a boat and board it if they have probable cause to believe that a law has been violated. The rules are similar to those on land. If an officer's vessel with a siren or blue light is approaching a boat, the boat must pull over and let the officer through.

Some boating accidents are easily avoidable if drivers follow proper safety measures. The accidents can cause severe injury to persons and property. Californians injured in boating accidents should contact a personal injury attorney to help them receive the compensation they deserve.