Earlier this summer we heard the story of a young couple and their friends taking part in a pre-wedding celebration on a power boat just miles from Manhattan. The speedboat ran into some construction barges, throwing passengers off the boat killing the bride-to-be and the best man. The driver of the boat was cited for excessive speed and reckless manslaughter. This leaves behind a sad ending to a life story that was just beginning. Boat accidents happen all the time, often at the expense of innocent passengers who are unfamiliar with water etiquette and safety. What can you do to protect yourself on a private boat or excursion?
Private boats and chartered vessels can be found along any major seaport village from San Diego to New York. The operator sets up shop and offers to take passengers on a cruise, a tour of the bay, or on a fishing or sightseeing journey. Their audience is a captive audience. Visitors and other newcomers to the area throw reluctance aside, pay their fee and put their lives in the hands of operator who may or may not be skilled at boating. When caught in the moment, what are some factors to know before you step on the boat and embark on the trip?
- Ask around. Check in with shopkeepers nearby and activate apps on your phone to review ratings and history of the excursion company.
- Find out what others are saying when they depart from the boat, or what others in line are saying if they have taken a chartered trip before.
- Inspect the vessel: Are there life jackets on board and are they clearly accessible? Does the boat look clean? Is there a capacity warning?
- Is the captain paying attention to his own signs, and docking the boat correctly, making sure he’s at capacity, and having people sign in and out to keep tabs on occupants?
A celebratory trip should never turn into a tragic event. If this has happened to you, there are several factors that come in to play when determining causes and result of boating accidents. Finding a New York law firm who specializes in personal injury law is your first course of action.