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Articles Posted in Boating Accident

There are many reasons why people love to live in and visit our Bay Area communities. Our natural resources are among the most popular features drawing people to our area, including the access to the waters of the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Boating offers both recreational and commercial opportunities. Boating safety is important and our San Francisco boating injury law firm believes that boating education is essential to preventing injuries and fatalities on the water.

Boating Accidents and a Lack of a Boating Education Requirement in California

ocean.jpg A report from the local NBC Bay Area affiliate calls attention to what seems a surprising legal gap – California has the nation’s second highest rate of boating accidents and yet it remains one of only five states (along with Alaska, Arizona, South Dakota & Wyoming) that permit inexperienced boaters to take the helm with no training, education, or certification requirements. As it stands, the law simply requires that a boater be at least 16 years old, although a boater can be a mere 12 years old if accompanied by an adult.

tanker.jpgAlong with the rest of the community, our San Francisco and Oakland accident law team has been watching the unfolding story of the oil tanker that collided with a Bay Bridge tower last week. The accident could have been much worse. No one was hurt but it could have led to numerous injuries, even deaths, and could have resulted in an environmental catastrophe that might have harmed the ecosystem and made thousands ill. An oil tanker crash is a serious incident and we are following the news of the recent crash in the hopes the lessons help prevent another crash with more dire results.

Oil Tanker Collides with Bay Bridge Tower

Among the information gleaned by The Oakland Tribune and other sources from a series of interviews held Monday, the pilot of the 752-foot oil tanker changed course just before the crash. It is unclear why Guy Kleess, the 61 year-old pilot, made the change, positioning the vessel to sail between a different set of towers than he had originally targeted. Kleess is an experienced operator who has sailed professionally for 36 years and has made 1,200 trips with large ships in the Bay, including during his years as an Exxon oil tanker captain. His shift in course came at a time of increasing fog and strong currents as the Overseas Reymar headed out to sea. Captain Peter McIssac, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots, noted the move to go between the D and E towers rather than the planned C and D route put the ship at a tricky angle. The ship did not make the shift successfully, sideswiping tower E at 11:18 a.m. on January 7. The impact left a large scrape on the hull and caused damage amounting to several million dollars to both the ship and the bridge.

The recent death of three children who were found dead inside a cabin of a yacht which had capsized off of New York’s Long Island is making news in the boating world. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, authorities are currently investigating the cause of the boating accident, including whether or not the boat was overcrowded. The young children were ages 12, 11 and 8. It has not been determined whether or not they we wearing life jackets as required under New York Law. Our San Francisco injury attorneys are saddened by this event and want to remind our California residents of some our state’s boating laws to prevent an untimely death or injury.

Boating Laws

First, the law requires that all vessels be registered and numbered. There are some exceptions to this law, including boats which are propelled manually, boats which are owned by public agencies and boats which are eight feet or less. If you are a boat owner, or potential owner, and are unsure of whether not your vessel meets any of the exceptions, you are encouraged to contact the California Department of Boating and Waterways prior to taking your boat on the waters. sailboat%20%28Rennet%20Stowe%29.jpg

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