Unfortunately, a lovely day spent on the water can quickly turn tragic due to:

  • Defective watercraft or equipment;
  • Intentional wrongdoing;
  • Improper maintenance;
  • Lack of training;
  • Operator's negligence.

Boating accidents can result in serious back and neck injuries, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, hypothermia, burn injuries, broken bones, and death by drowning.

Victims of devastating boating accidents are often left to deal with:

  • Severe injuries;
  • Permanent disabilities;
  • Boat and property damage;
  • Expensive medical treatment;
  • Lost wages from time off from work.

If you or a loved one got injured in a Sacramento & Elk Grove boating accident, you may be facing years of recovery or even permanent disability. Fortunately, when a disaster occurs, people affected have the juridical prerogative to pursue monetary coverage from those at fault, including manufacturers of defective water crafts and inattentive boat operants.


$1.45 million

Plaintiff was a 21-year-old male who was severely injured on a towable inflatable on the San Joaquin Delta near Tower Park Marina in Lodi, California. He was being towed by a family friend operating a personal water craft. It was a windy day a… Read more


Boating Accident Figures

As the United States Coast Guard reported in 2014, the 4064 recreational boating accidents involved 610 deaths, 2678 injuries and approximately $39 million of compensations for property.

Open motorboats (47%) were the most common type of water crafts involved in accidents followed by personal watercraft (17%) and cabin motorboats (15%) while eight out of every ten of the boaters who drowned were utilizing vessels no bigger than 21 feet in length.

The most important five contributing factors in boat accidents are:

  1. Operator negligence;
  2. Operator lack of experience;
  3. Incorrect lookout;
  4. Machinery failure;
  5. Alcohol use;
  6. Excessive speed.

Almost 78% of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, out of which 84% were not wearing a life jacket.

Regarding fatal boating accidents, alcohol use lead to 21% of boat crash deaths, being the leading contributing factor in fatal boating disasters.

Prevailing Categories of Boating Disasters

The most prevailing types of fatal boating accidents involve:

  • Collision with Vessel;
  • Flooding or Swamping;
  • Grounding;
  • Sinking;
  • Skier Mishap;
  • Capsizing;
  • Falls Overboard;
  • Ejection;
  • Collision with Fixed Object;
  • Fire/Explosion (Other than Fuel);
  • Electrocution;
  • Hitting a submerged object;
  • Casualties while swimming (usually by drowning) from a boat. Being unanchored, the watercraft drifts away from the swimmer so he/she can't reach it;
  • A person struck by a vessel, steering machinery, propulsion unit, or propeller;
  • Exposure to carbon monoxide.

The injured person may file a lawsuit and has the right to receive compensation for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and even punitive damages.

If someone has been either killed or injured or if a boat was damaged during a boating accident, it's better to contact our experienced Sacramento & Elk Grove-based attorney to review and discuss your case.

Quick action is important since there is a strict deadline for filing a boating accident legal claim. The deadline is known as "statute of limitations". California recognizes a 2-year statute of limitations; however, cruise lines can reduce this limitation to 1 year or less.

Boating accident attorneys can handle the following types of boating accidents:

  • Wave runner or jet ski accidents;
  • Wind and kite surfing accidents;
  • Accidents caused by drugs or alcohol abuse;
  • Snorkeling or scuba accidents;
  • Waterskiing or tubing accidents;
  • Parasailing accidents;
  • Commercial fishing accidents;
  • Ferry worker accidents;
  • Kayaking or canoe accidents;
  • Passenger boating accidents such as a ferry or a cruise liner.

Catastrophic Injuries Linked to Boating Accidents

Boating disasters can result in tragic injuries, including:

California Boating Laws

In California, it is against the law to operate a vessel in a reckless manner that would endanger the life, physical integrity, and property of others. This includes operating in areas used by swimmers, operating at excessive speed and making sharp turns.

Passengers are not allowed to ride where there is a danger of falling overboard. Boat owners are required to have an adequate number of life jackets on board and have their safety equipment in working condition. When an accident occurs, it should be immediately reported if:

  • The accident led to the death or disappearance of a person;
  • The accident resulted in injuries requiring medical assistance beyond first aid;
  • The property damage exceeds $500.

Boat owners should file a written report to the California Department of Boating and Waterways within 48 hours following an accident that resulted in injury or death and within 10 days if the accident resulted only in property damage. Boat owners or operators should also provide their names, addresses, and vessel registration numbers to the other involved parties.

Contact John M. O'Brien - Boating Disaster Lawyer

If you or a loved one were badly injured in a boating accident in Sacramento, Elk Grove, or anywhere in the state of California, contact a boating accident attorney at John M. O'Brien & Associates for experienced and dedicated legal representation. Call today for a free case evaluation. Our firm is devoted to helping injured persons and their families obtain a full financial recovery following a traumatic accident.

"We handle all of our cases the same way, it's on a contingency, which means we don't get paid for all the work that we do until we've resolved the case to our client's satisfaction."

Call us 916.714.8200



Common Questions

Passengers are always at risk in a boating accident, especially if either they or the boat operator consumed alcohol or drugs b…

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A boat operator, passenger, boat owner, manufacturer, or rental company could have acted negligently, and you became injured. As a result, you are ent…

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Common causes of boating injuries and fatalities can occur alone, but …

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Although boating accidents are out of the ordinary events, their causes are common, preventable happenings like running out of gas, ground…

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Liable parties in boating accidents might face both civil and cri…

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The most common injuries in boating accidents are shocks, bleeding, burns, broken bones, h…

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As the United States Coast Guard reported in 2014, the 4,064 recorded recreational boatin…

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You are entitled to damages if a boat operator, passenger, boat owner, manufacturer, or r…

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If you have been injured in a boating accident, the accident has to be reported. You may file a…

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