Articles Posted in Boating Accident

In Northern California, we are fortunate to have access to a wide range of beautiful bodies of water and boating is a favorite activity of many visitors and locals alike.  Boating can be great fun for people of all ages, but it is important to remember that safe boatingboatfire should be the very first priority anytime you set out on the water.  Last month, our Oakland boating injury lawyer examined the causes of boating fires.  This month, after reading about another dangerous fire on the water, our team returns to the topic of boat fires to provide advice on prevention and how to respond if you ever face a fire while afloat.

Woman Suffers Serious Burns in Bethel Island Boat Fire

According to the East Bay Times, a weekend boat fire in Bethel Island left a woman facing severe burns.  Officials with the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District told reporters that a flash fire broke out aboard a boat near the 4500 block of South Willow Avenue at about 4:44 PM on Saturday.  A woman and child were on board when the flash fire occurred.  Fire officials have not yet identified the cause of the blaze, which was out by the time fire crews arrived on scene.  The woman suffered severe burns and was taken by helicopter to the burn center at the University of California Davis.  The report does not provide details on the minor’s condition, but does say the child was taken to Antioch’s Sutter Delta Hospital.

boatfireThere’s a cruel irony to the thought of battling a fire when surrounded by nothing but water.  Nonetheless, boating fires are a very real threat to life, health, and property.  When boat fires result from unsafe products or from the negligence of an individual or entity, our San Francisco boating injury law firm is here to help.

Two Men and One Dog Rescued After Boat Fire in Half Moon Bay

The danger of a boat fire became all too real for two skilled Bay Area boaters this week.  According to KPIX, a well-known fisherman was headed back to Half Moon Bay when he started to smell smoke.  Another passenger and the fisherman’s dog were also on board.  A Venture County Fire Department official told reporters that when the passenger went to investigate, a large amount of smoke came pouring out of the vessel’s engine compartment.  The captain issued a mayday call and, after donning protective gear (yes, the dog had a life jacket too), the trio jumped into the water.  Thankfully, another boater was in the area and picked them up shortly thereafter.

Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) releases what it calls its “Most Wanted List.”  This list represents the NTSB’s top advocacy priorities for the year, improvements to safety that the NTSB believes can make the biggest difference in preventing transportation accidents and saving lives.  Our San Francisco injury law firm shares the NTSB’s commitment to transportation safety and, while we advocate for injury victims in California every day, we know that prevention is always the best goal.

The following items are on the NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List:

  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents: It is impossible to know exactly how many car accidents are due to drowsy driving, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes anywhere from 2% to 20% of yearly traffic fatalities are due to drowsy drivers.  The problem also extends to other areas of the transportation field and the NTSB identified fatigue as a probable cause in 20% of the Board’s 182 major investigations between 2001 and 2012.

Vacation – just the word alone can bring a smile to your face and even release a tiny bit of that tension we all seem to carry in our shoulders and neck these days.  We love our work at The Brod Law Firm, but there’s still something lovely about the moment we turn on our “away messages” (of course, we always have coverage plans in place so our client service is seamless and new clients can always reach someone who can help)!  Still, as illustrated by last week’s tragedy in Seattle, vacation is not without its dangers.  Vacation accidents can be a matter of time and place, a “regular” accident that happens to occur during a trip, or they can be more directly tied to the trip itself, such as an accident involving tourist-oriented activities or other recreational endeavors.  When visitors to the Bay Area, including tourists injured in Sonoma as well as San Francisco or Oakland, are hurt due to the actions or inactions of another, our San Francisco vacation accident law firm

Duck Boat Accident Kills Four Student-Tourists in Seattle

On Thursday September 24, a duck boat tour in Seattle ended tragically leaving four dead and dozens injured.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the duck boat was carrying a group from North Seattle College across the Aurora Bridge when the amphibious vehicle suddenly swerved and crashed into a charter bus. The crash killed four international students.  A woman from Fremont who suffered a broken collarbone was among the many injured in the collision.

Enjoying time on the water is one of the great joys of life in California.  With the ocean, numerous rivers, and thousands of lakes, water is (and we note the irony of this statement amid a long drought) everywhere.  Jet skiing is one of many water-related activities that California residents and visitors enjoy.  While it can be great fun, both riders and bystanders must remain aware of the danger of jet ski accidents.  When a jet ski accident can be traced to a negligent individual or corporation, our Northern California jet ski accident law firm can help hold those responsible accountable for their actions and help the injured victim or grieving family recover monetary compensation.

Two Jet Ski Related Accidents Claim Lives on Bass Lake

Recently, two jet ski-related tragedies darkened the mood at Central California’s popular Bass Lake.  On June 27, an accident left a 13-year-old boy dead and his 16-year-old aunt critically injured.  According to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and The Sierra Star, the pair were, along with the boy’s father, riding in an inner tube and being pulled by a pontoon boat when they were hit by a jet ski.  The waverunner was piloted by a San Jose man with two riders on-board.  Police do not believe alcohol was a factor, but the jet ski was allegedly outside of the three designated waverunner zones.  The owner of a lakeside resort suggested the operator may not have understood that waverunners do not stop simply because the operator lets up on the gas.

The remnants of a picnic lunch sit on a blanket.  Mom shades her eyes as Junior calls out for her to watch.  Dad fires up the boat pulling Junior along in an inner tube.  He picks up speed and they all laugh as Junior struggles to hang on.  Most likely the day will be remembered for laughs and fun; sunburn and perhaps a bruise or two are all the family fears.  Sadly, tubing accidents can turn this seemingly idyllic summer scene tragic in mere moments.  As we look at the threat, the hearts of our Sonoma County drowning injury lawyer and legal team go out to a grieving family that will never look at a day on the lake the same again.

Holiday Turns Tragic with Lake Sonoma Drowning

On Monday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that a dive team had recovered the body of a 14 year-old San Francisco boy who had been missing since July 4th.  According to reports, the boy and his younger cousin had been playing on inflatable toys during a Lake Sonoma gathering when they drifted further than they intended.  After persuading 13 year-old aboard a personal watercraft to tow them to shore, the boys lost their grip on the rope and slipped into the water.  Neither boy could swim; neither was wearing a life jacket.  The survivor reports he initially panicked and held onto his cousin, but the pair separated.  The younger boy made it to shore.  His cousin never followed.

As we hope is evident throughout this blog, our firm is committed to safe travels on Northern California’s roadways; a commitment that extends to all travelers, whether on four wheels, two wheels, or two feet. Our commitment also extends to those whose travels aren’t on roads at all. Boating safety is another element of transportation safety. Safe boating includes knowing how to prevent capsizing and what to do if their vessel does capsize. As on land, prevention is always preferable, but our Sonoma boating accident attorney is prepared to advocate for people injured on the water as a result of someone else’s negligence.

Tragedy on the Water in Bodega Bay Leaves Four Dead, One Injured boatinbodega.jpg

On Saturday, a boat capsized in Bodega Bay, off Sonoma County’s coast, leaving four dead and one injured. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the 32-foot vessel, normally a salmon fishing boat, was part of celebrations for the opening day of crab season. According to the sole survivor’s statement to police, the group of recreational crabbers departed Bodega Harbor around 8:30 A.M. and had turned back when a “rogue wave” hit the vessel’s left side around 10 A.M. The boat flipped, tossing all five occupants into the 58-degree waters.

Cruise ships are often viewed as a relaxing and luxurious way to travel to several vacation spots in a relatively short period of time. However, they can also be a breeding ground for many personal injury claims. From slip and falls to food and air borne illnesses, a fun filled cruise ship can quickly turn into a vessel of disaster. This is what happened a few weeks ago aboard the Crown Princess, a cruise ship that is a part of the Princess Cruise Lines. CBS reported that approximately 94 passengers and 23 crew members became ill on a seven-day cruise scheduled to stop along several ports along the California Pacific Coast line. Ports of call included Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Although the Princess Cruise Line has not yet confirmed that it was in fact the Norovirus, they claimed they took several precautions to prevent the spread of the “stomach bug”. Even today, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has labeled the cause of the gastrointestinal (GI) illness on the Crown Royal as unknown. Regardless, several news reports still point to one culprit: the Norovirus.

What is the Norovirus?

The CDC describes the Norovirus as a virus that causes inflammation of your stomach and intestines. Symptoms typically include: stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The Norovirus spreads by contact with an infected person, touching contaminated surfaces or by contaminated food or water.

It isn’t the first danger most people consider when boarding a boat. After all, there’s a touch of irony in the threat of fire when surrounded by water. Still, our San Francisco boating accident attorney knows that boating fires are a very real danger. Fires, fuel and non-fuel-related, were listed by the United States Coast Guard as the primary cause of 264 boating accidents in 2012 , leading to 5 deaths, 99 injuries, and more than $12 million in property damage (see Recreational Boating Statistics 2012, Table 16). When boating fires occur in the waters of Northern California because someone was negligent (for example, an owner, operator, manufacturer, or maintenance provider), we can help victims file personal injury and wrongful death claims and recover critical money damages.

Eight Passengers Escape Burning Boat Off Tiburon

Eight people, five adults and three children, learned about the potential for boating fires firsthand following a Saturday afternoon boat fire off the Tiburon coast. According to KGO-TV ABC7, the owner of a 35-foot fiber glass motor boat noticed smoke about an hour after departing from San Rafael’s Loch Lomond Marina. He alerted the Coast Guard and was told to have everyone don life jackets, jump into the water, and wait for help. The owner fired off flares to get the attention of nearby vessels. While no one spotted the first two flares, a pleasure craft responded to the third and pulled all eight individuals out of the water. Luckily, the riders were rescued after only five minutes in the water and no one was hurt.

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We in the San Francisco Bay Area are blessed to live in a spectacularly beautiful juncture between land and water, and during the summer months the region’s waterscape proves a particularly alluring setting for recreational activities such as boating. But while boats and personal watercraft are vessels that can provide memorable entertainment for family outings, all too often they can be even more dangerous than motor vehicles to operate, sometimes with tragic consequences. A boating accident in the Sacramento Delta on Sunday was but one example of how deadly collisions involving boats can be, and is a reminder of the relevance of personal injury actions in some cases.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, a man died after his Jet Ski struck a Wave Runner, both of which are personal watercraft, near Bethel Island in Contra Costa County. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but the county sheriff’s marine patrol found that “both operators had limited experience and no boating education,” according to the story in the Chronicle.

According to United States Coast Guard statistics, operator inexperience was the No. 2 primary contributing factor of recreational boating accidents in the nation in 2012. Other top primary contributing factors in last year’s boating accident statistics include operator inattention, improper lookout, machinery failure, excessive speed, navigation rules violations and alcohol use. All in all, there were 4,515 boating accidents reported to the USCG last year, of which 578, or 13 percent, resulted in a total of 651 deaths. The USCG also counted 3,000 injuries and approximately $38 million of property damage as a result of recreational boating accidents.

As in accidents involving motor vehicles, water craft operators are at fault in a boating accident if they act negligently. And as in motor vehicle accidents, a significant number of water craft accidents often involve an operator who is under the influence of alcohol. Boating under the influence (BUI) is criminalized in all 50 states. Indeed, alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; the USCG listed it as the primary factor in 17 percent of all such accidents in 2012.

With the USCG reporting 12,101,936 recreational vessels registered by the states last year that are often cruising – and unfortunately colliding in – the nation’s waterways, it’s no surprise there would be numerous cases involving accident liability. Those who are found negligent for whatever reason in a boating accident may incur civil liability and even criminal liability. Boating accident victims may sue another boater for property damage, medical expenses and other losses suffered as a result of the incident.
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