A hot summer’s day on Johns Pond in Mashpee was interrupted last week when two jet skis crashed. This resulted in hospitalizations for the operators of both jet skis. One was flown to Rhode Island Hospital with possible head and internal injuries. The other was transferred by ambulance to Falmouth Hospital with less severe injuries.
Luckily, beach goers who witnessed the accident were able to help bring the injured people to shore. This allowed emergency responders to assist immediately upon their arrival.
As summer wears on, safety on the water should remain a paramount concern of vacationers. According to a recent Boating Statistics report provided by the United States Coast Guard, in 2016, boating accidents resulted in 701 deaths and almost 3,000 injuries.
And while the number of boating accidents with injuries has been dropping steadily for 15 years, the number of deaths has not gone down much with it. Safety on the water remains a serious issue, and every boat owner should be aware of their duties and risks.
As discussed in a previous blog post, when a lawsuit is brought as a result of a boating accident, special “admiralty” laws apply. Of note:
Boat and ship owners owe a “duty of reasonable care” to passengers.
If you are a boat owner, be aware of potential boat owner liability issues.
If vessels collide and hurts someone, you can bring a claim for negligence under admiralty laws.
Passengers on tour boats, such as whale watching or sight-seeing, may be entitled to compensation even if releases or waivers have been signed. (And you might not want to sign those release forms anyway.)
Workers injured at sea may be entitled to benefits under the Jones Act. A seaman may have greater rights than when injured in other workplace accidents.