As a state consisting of a series of islands, and a known vacation and recreation destination, Hawaii is known not just for relaxation…but, also for boating and water sports. But, much like other activities, boating does not come without risks. In fact, along with a rise in the number of participants in boating activities comes a rise in the number of boating accidents and fatalities in Hawaii each year.
To start, it’s critical to define a boating accident. According to the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation for the state of Hawaii’s “Reporting Boating Accidents,” Section I, a “boating accident” is a boat-related accident of any sort involving:
- A death, injury or disappearance of any individual;
- Any injury requiring medical treatment or disability in excess of 24 hours or any loss of consciousness;
- A loss of life resulting from the accident;
- Property damage (to the boat or property) is equal to or more than $200; or
- A loss of an actual boating vessel (not including theft).
The state’s report further explains that boating accidents may also include anything on board being towed, or pushed, whether or not the incident is caused by human error, waves or other water occurrences, capsation, a collision, taking on water, fire or explosions…even if no actual damage to the boat itself or its equipment occurs. In short, “boating accident” is a broad term which includes any number of recreational water vehicle incidents.
Causes of Boating Accidents in Hawaii
There are many causes of boating accidents. In Hawaii, common causes include:
- Operator error, inattention, inexperience, misjudgment or other; inattention;
- Improper lookout techniques;
- Alcohol use;
- Improperly loading, or overloading of passengers;
- Actual boat or equipment failure; and
- Non-human environmental factors.
While a variety of factors may be involved, most accidents are caused by operator inexperience, intoxication or boat malfunctions. In fact, a number of accidents are alcohol-related. As a boater, it’s important to realize that boat operators impaired by alcohol are over ten times more likely to be injured or killed in boating incidents than those who are sober.
Steps Following a Boating Accident
Practicing boating safety is important, but knowing what steps to take in the event of an accident and/or injury are equally crucial.
Federal law mandates that the individual in charge of operating the boat – or if that individual is incapacitated and physically not able to do so him or herself – file a boating accident report with the State of Hawaii when, resulting from an incident that involves a water vehicle or its equipment: there is a death, any individual tied to the vessel disappears in a manner which makes a death or injury a possibility of any sort, any involved individual is injured and requires medical treatment, damage caused (whether to the boat itself or any property involved) equals or exceeds $200 or the boat is destroyed.
Other steps include:
- Seek immediate medical attention to determine the extent of injuries.
- If another boater, boat or piece of property is involved, exchange contact and insurance information with the operator and/or owner.
- Report all incidents promptly.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation and the next steps to take.
Who to Call
Boating accidents can result in various personal injuries including burns, broken bones, neck and spine injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Hawaii, it’s important that you retain the services of an experienced team of attorneys.
Our Hawaii boating accident lawyers have experience fighting and winning cases securing successful verdicts that grant the compensation to which our clients are entitled. We work closely with our clients to take on whoever may be at fault in boating accident cases. The rights of our clients are our top priority.