As the summer months approach and the weather heats up, the water calls our names. For many, that means spending our weekends hanging out at the neighborhood pool, hosting cookouts by our backyard ponds, or vacationing at a family friend’s lake house. For others, summertime is the perfect opportunity for high-octane watersports: boating, tubing, and even jet-skiing!

Located near the beautiful Great Lakes, Ohioans and Michiganders know all about the excitement this time of year brings. These seasonal outdoor activities can lead to lifelong memories and offer fun for the entire family, but with those memories comes the risk of serious accidents. Ohio consistently reports over 100 boating accidents yearly, so those who want to have fun this summer must do so safely and smartly.

How Watercraft Accidents Happen

Boating, tubing, and jet-ski accidents can occur in a variety of ways, but typically these accidents are caused by everyday situations:

Environmental circumstances (weather, congested waters, locks)

Boats capsizing, sinking, or flooding

Operating your vessel (high speeds, improper lookout)

Equipment failure (mechanical failure, fire)

Falling on or off the boat

The very nature of these water-bound activities are dangerous, and the adrenaline rush is why many of us enjoy them, but you should take all precautions to prevent injuries to yourself and others. Those of us who enjoy outdoor sports must participate safely because a lack of safety equipment and gear can make even the most minor accidents have severe consequences. While some boaters under Ohio law are not required to wear a life jacket, failing to wear one could have significant consequences. Improper care can impact your claim and undermine the harm you or a loved one have experienced. Please consider wearing a life jacket while on the water for safety.

Another risky maneuver is participating in watersports while under the influence. To be blunt: there is no safe way to drink and operate a watercraft. Alcohol’s effects worsen when you’re out in the hot sun all day, intoxicating you faster than you may notice. Just like driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating a jet-ski under the influence puts yourself and others in grave danger. Be smart, and don’t take any unnecessary risks this summer. Remember: You want to be on the water again next year, so do what you can to be safe this summer.

So, you’ve experienced a Watercraft Accident…

If you’ve experienced a watercraft accident (i.e., boating, jet-skis, tubing), it is imperative that you get the names and information of everybody involved. Certain bodies of water are governed by federal and state laws, which may impact any applicable legal rights or duties. Any accident that occurs on the water and results in physical injury, property damage worth more than $2,000, or even death, must be reported to the Department of Natural Resources within 48 hours. The Department of Natural Resources will assist you in writing a report for the incident, similar to what the police do after car accidents, and that report will be helpful to you should you choose to pursue an injury claim.

Once you’ve experienced an accident on the water, you should ensure that every injured party gets the medical care and attention they need. Frequently, people don’t realize the full extent of their injuries, so it’s essential to have them checked out as soon as possible. Ohio law allows injured parties to collect compensation under certain circumstances. Here at Gallon, Takacs, & Boissoneault, our experienced attorneys have helped people with physical injuries, including:

  • Fractured and broken bones,
  • Traumatic brain injuries,
  • Bruising,
  • Concussions;
  • Head, neck, and back injuries; and
  • Sprains and muscle strains.

Personal injury claims, such as boating accidents, often require evidence of negligence. When you speak to one of our experienced watercraft accident attorneys, we will listen to your story and analyze your situation carefully to determine fault. We can help you collect compensation for the accident in or out of court. The more documentation you and your loved ones have of any harm incurred, the better.

If you have experienced an accident that we could help you with, do not hesitate to reach out at 419-843-6663 on our website, or via email.

For the best summer, remember to stay safe and smart.

Have fun out on the water!

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