Boat Drivers Legal Obligations title image

Texas is a boaters’ paradise for recreational water activities. But being out on the water can be risky, especially with negligent boat owners or operators sharing the lake with you. When another person acts recklessly, innocent boaters and swimmers can suffer unimaginable harm in preventable tragedies. If this happens to you or a loved one, the attorneys at Parker Law Firm are here to help. We work with clients who experience serious and life-altering injuries in Texas boating and water accidents, including:

  • Burn injuries
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Organ damage and internal bleeding
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Boat propeller cuts and lacerations
  • Limb loss
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Multiple complex and compound fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis

Most boating accidents occur when:

  • a boat hits another boat
  • a boat hits another boat’s wake
  • a boat hits a wave
  • a boat hits a submerged object, rock, or land

In a collision between two motorboats, both boat operators will usually be at least partly to blame. Injured passengers on either of the boats would have a legal case against the operators of both boats. In a collision between a sailboat and a motorboat, the motorboat is more likely to be at fault than the sailboat because safe boating practices, often called “The Rules of the Road,” require motorboats to keep out of the way of sailboats.

Boating Accidents Occur list

Even on the clearest day with the best visibility, a boat can hit a submerged object or rock. In poor weather and poor visibility, boats can run aground or hit a jetty. The boat owner or operator’s liability for a collision with a fixed object will depend on the circumstances. If they are zipping along in fog or a strong storm, without charts or a GPS, and runs into an object, that is considered negligence.

Alcohol plays a role in roughly 80 percent of all boating accidents. Brad Parker says, “The most prevalent cause that I see for boating accidents by far is excessive drinking. People out on the lake are having too much fun in the sun. They stop paying attention to what they are doing.” It is unlawful for any person to operate a boat while intoxicated. If you operate a boat while being intoxicated, you can face big fines, a loss of license and even jail time.

Federal and state boating safety laws and regulations require various kinds of safety equipment on board, such as life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) for each passenger, throwable life rings, navigational lights, flares, whistles, and fire extinguishers. While failure to have the proper safety equipment on board may not be the cause of the accident, it can slow rescue efforts. In Texas children under 13 years of age must wear a life vest. “Don’t just have life jackets on the boat, but make sure everybody wears them. When an emergency happens, you shouldn’t be fumbling around and searching in a compartment,” Brad says.

If you get injured on a boat, you are going to need to prove that your injury resulted from someone’s negligence to be able to recover damages from that person. This means that you and your lawyer must be able to prove that someone failed to act with reasonable care, and that, because of that negligence, you got injured. The experienced attorneys at Parker Law Firm can help you