Boating Safety and Personal Injury Cases

Last updated on: July 23, 2013

Boating Safety and Personal Injury 

Thousands of Texans across the state are taking to the water to enjoy the sunny weather in their recreational boats and personal watercrafts. Unfortunately, most Texas boat operators do not think about taking precautions against personal injury on the water until it’s too late. If you’re going to be out on the water, make sure you have all of the necessary safety equipment you might need, like life jackets, ropes, and first aid kids. Also make sure you read the local rules and regulations such as no-wake zones and speed limits that apply to your particular boating destination. Make certain that your boat insurance is up to date and that it has protections like Personal Injury Protection or Uninsured Motorist coverage that protects not only your assets but your loved ones in case they suffer an accident.


Most importantly, have a designated operator that can drive the boat without drinking. Many boat operators are surprised to learn that Texas DUI laws apply to boats of 50 horsepower or more. Alcohol use directly causes dozens of serious boating injuries every year. In terms of a personal injury lawsuit, many of the same principles will apply in a boating collision that apply in a motor vehicle wreck. Did the boat driver cause the accident by not taking ordinary precautions that a reasonable person would have taken in the same or similar circumstances? Was he or she acting recklessly when the wreck occurred? These are the questions a Personal Injury Attorney will be asking. If you have questions following a boating accident, call our office to speak with one of our Personal Injury Attorneys today.

No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea for everyone to know boating safety rules before stepping on a dock. Below you will find 10 basic boating safety tips to help you stay safe and have a great boating excursion.

Top 10 Safe Boating Tips

  1.  Be Weather-Wise – Always check weather conditions before departure. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting or staying out of the water.
  1. Have a Pre-Departure Checklist-  Be prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.

  2. Use Common Sense – One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times, staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.

  3. Designate an Second Mate – Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can get everyone else back to shore safely.

  4. Develop a Float Plan – Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone. 

  5. Wear Lifejackets – The majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets. Make sure that you are fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure and it is worn the entire time of the excursion. 

  6. Avoid Alcohol Use – Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.

  7. Learn to Swim – If you’re going to be in and around open water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim well in various conditions. Swimming in a calm pool is very different from swimming in open choppy waters. 

  8. Take a Boating Course – Beginner boaters and experts alike need to be familiar with rules of operation. Regardless of your state’s requirements, it’s always important to be educated and prepared for any circumstance that might arise. 

  9. Maintain your Boat – Get a specialist to check out your boat for maintenance, proper function and regular cleaning. This will ensure the longevity of your boat as well as a pleasant boat ride.