Boating Accidents

Injuries on boats are quite common. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident and you need a boating accident attorney in Connecticut, we can help. Injuries on boats are quite common and people are injured as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, and other kinds of water sports recreation activities. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to call us today for a free case evaluation. There are never any upfront fees for us to handle your case and you will only pay if your case is won. With over 25 years of combined experience, our personal injury attorneys can be the difference in your case.


In the last several years, thousands of boats were registered each year in the state of Connecticut alone. These vessels and other water crafts had free access to Connecticut’s many area waterways. While the number of boating fatalities has been decreasing over recent years, hundreds of people still die in recreational boating accidents. In the year 2000, there were nearly 11,000 vessels involved in 7,740 recreational boating accidents. These resulted in 791 fatalities and 4,355 injuries. Not all boating accidents are even reported. It is estimated that only five to ten percent of non-fatal accidents are on record at all.

While less than ten percent of boating accidents result in fatalities, more than half of those occur because of capsizing and falls overboard, with 90% of those victims drowning. Of those who did drown, 86% were not wearing a life jacket. Types of recreational boating accidents may include:

  • Capsizing
  • Falling overboard
  • Collisions with another vessel or structure
  • Fire
  • Sinking, flooding
  • Explosions
  • Disappearance of a vessel or passenger

There are numerous causes of boating accidents, of course, but a great many of them are preventable. Statistics show that the majority of these accidents are caused by operator inexperience or inattention. Eighty-four percent of all boating fatalities that occur on boats happen where operators have not completed a boating safety education course. Other reasons for boating accidents include:

  • Lack of experience for boat operators
  • Recklessness/careless boat operation
  • Operator inattention
  • Operating at an unsafe speeds
  • No proper lookout

Another serious cause of boating accidents is the consumption of alcohol while operating a boat. This accounts for nearly one-third of all recreational boating fatalities, and is, in fact, the number one cause of boating accident deaths. Because the effects of alcohol are magnified while on the water, intoxicated boaters are more than ten times as likely to be killed in a boating accident because of diminished coordination, dehydration, susceptibility to hypothermia, and impaired judgment.

In Connecticut, a person is considered legally intoxicated if blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or greater; for youths under 21 the BAC cannot exceed 0.01. Just like driving a car, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or barbiturates, so the penalties are stiff, and could include fines, prison time, community service, mandatory substance abuse counseling, and more.

When operating a recreational vessel, steps can be taken to prevent a boating accident or to minimize the damage if an accident occurs:

  • Always wear life jackets and dress for possible immersion.
  • Be aware that cold weather is more dangerous: there are fewer boaters and patrols to rescue those in distress, and the water is much colder.
  • Do not drink alcohol while on the water.
  • When in larger bodies of water, take advantage of available distress-alerting and position-indicating technologies.

If and when a boating accident does occur, the operator of a boat in the state of Connecticut is required to file an accident report with the proper authorities. For example, if any of the following conditions occur you must report:

  • A life is lost due to the accident
  • Someone sustains an injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Property damage in excess of $500, or, of course, complete loss of the vessel
  • A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury

The law says that if the operator is unable to file the report, the owner must file. In Connecticut, death, disappearance and injury reports must be filed within 48 hours and damage reports must be filed within 10 days.

Boating accidents, as we’ve said, can and do happen for many reasons, but if you are the victim of an accident because of someone else’s negligence you are entitled to fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of another, contact the personal injury attorneys at Balzano and Tropiano today, we can help.