Recreational Fishing Accidents

While fishing is seen as a relaxing sport when done for recreation, it isn’t without some risk. Accidents can happen which result in injury, in some cases they can even be serious. Many times, these are simply unavoidable accidents, such as a hand injury from a hook or a fall on the boat deck. In other cases, negligence is the cause.

While people who own boats for fishing are responsible for their own safety, charter boats and other businesses that allow people to go fishing are responsible to ensure the customer’s safety. These companies must provide adequate equipment, maintain the equipment and inspect it regularly to ensure it performs as expected. They must also ensure the person is knowledgeable about proper procedures for using the equipment, and the staff must know how to respond in an emergency.

According to the US Coast Guard, up to 80 percent of boating fatalities result from people not wearing life jackets. All charter fishing boat operators must ensure every passenger is wearing a life jacket at all times when they are on a boat.

Many people think accidents only happen on large vessels, but studies show that 80 percent of the people who drowned on a boat in 2014 were on a boat less than 21 feet long. The top five factors that contribute to accidents include:

  • Inattention of operator
  • Improper lookout
  • Inexperience of operator
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use

Alcohol use is also the top contributing factor for boating accidents that lead to death. Equipment failure can lead to accidents on recreational fishing boats as well. In some cases, the failure led to capsizing and in other instances, it caused the boat to hit another vessel or stationary object. Examples of equipment failure include the following:

  • Engine failure
  • Electrical system failure
  • Steering system failure
  • Sail dismasting
  • Seat broke loose
  • Ventilation system failure

Boat operators are required to ensure the safety of the vessel before allowing passengers when used in a commercial environment even if the activities aboard are for recreation, such as a chartered fishing boat.

Accidents on fishing boats may be fatal or cause serious injury. While drowning accounts for many injuries, a person may also suffer a head injury, neck or back trauma, burns, broken bones and other medical problems.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a fishing accident and the boat operator is responsible, you deserve compensation. Call us and find out how we can help you prove your case.

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