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Arizona can boast of having some of the country’s most exquisite lakes and rivers, which makes boating a great way to beat the scorching heat of an Arizona summer, participate in any number of water sports, or relax with a fishing pole in the water. Unfortunately, Arizona’s waterways can also be the setting for boating accidents due to inexperience or carelessness of the operator. Consider that operators are not required to take any sort of safety course to be able to drive a boat in Arizona, and a child as young as 12 is allowed to get behind the wheel of a watercraft.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, the Phoenix boat injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Phoenix boat accident lawyers.
Causes of Boat Accidents
Everyone at the lake just wants to have a good time, but the grim truth is that any number of boating accidents can occur on the water. Here are a few examples of common types of boating accidents one may encounter on the Arizona’s bodies of water.
Excessive Speed. Of course operating a motorboat in excess of posted speeds is illegal, but an operator must still consider what speed is reasonable given the current waterway traffic, weather, and swimmers in the water in order to avoid being negligent and hurting someone. Operators should remember that boats are on water and should, therefore, not be confused with having the stopping ability or steering maneuverability that a car might on dry concrete.
Propeller Strikes. More often than not, the fault for a nearby swimmer being struck with a boat’s propeller rests with the negligent boat operator, who does not realize the proximity of the swimmer. The bodily injury from a motorboat propeller blade is usually severe , such as a deep laceration or even a loss of limb.
Operating Under the Influence (OUI). Arizona law does not allow an operator to drive a motorboat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, but the offense of Extreme OUI exists under Arizona law for operating a motorboat with a BAC of .15% or higher. If an operator drives a boat under the influence, he or she is automatically liable for the injuries caused by his or her impaired operation of a motorboat.
Water Skiing. Like swimmers, people on water skis are just as exposed to injuries caused by contact with a motorboat, but they are also traveling at dangerous speeds and can collide with objects in the water like buoys or trees. Remember, too, that Arizona law requires two people in the boat while another is water skiing: one to operate the boat and one (at least twelve years old) to observe the person being towed behind the boat.
Overloading. Motorboat operators should read the manufacturer’s recommended load limits for the vessel before bringing on passengers and supplies. A motorboat has the size and weight to do serious harm to all passengers in the event of the boat capsizing, or flipping over, because they may become trapped or get knocked out as they fall into the water.
Lack of Required Equipment. Four out of the top ten boating law violations in Arizona involve not having the proper equipment on the boat designed to keep us safe. Every person on board needs a life-jacket on board that is appropriate for their size and age, but the boat also needs an additional throwable personal flotation device. The vessel also needs a fire extinguisher that has been regularly serviced. Also, for nighttime or inclement weather, the boat will need lights (specifically navigation lights) according to the specifications of Arizona law.
Personal Watercraft. Personal watercrafts (PWC’s) in Arizona carry all of the responsibilities and dangers that larger motorboats do, but a few more rules apply to personal watercraft on Arizona water. A PWC operator must always be wearing a life jacket with a “snug fit,” for instance. Like motorcycles on the road, PWC’s are smaller and therefore harder to see, and they offer virtually no protection from a collision with another vessel or water hazard.
Skilled Phoenix Boat Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Arizona, consult a boating accident lawyer in Phoenix to know your rights. Remember that if the operator of a watercraft is breaking the law, then he or she is generally liable for the injuries caused by his or her illegal operation of a boat.
At Zinda Law Group, our Phoenix boat injury attorneys have the resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation as well as the experience necessary to recover for the pain and suffering, costs of potentially enormous medical bills, time lost from work, and much more. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with one of our Phoenix boat accident lawyers. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.