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San Diego Accident Attorneys: Do You Know How to Prevent a Boating Collision?

As San Diego accident attorneys, we are concerned about boat safety as the summer approaches. In 2014, there were four boating fatalities and 38 injuries in the waters of San Diego. Overall, there were more than 500 boating accidents in California, according to the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

Collision with another boat and collision with a fixed object are two of the most common types of accidents. Similar to the rules of the road used to prevent collisions on California’s roadways, there are also boat navigation rules designed to prevent collisions on the state’s waterways.

Just like drivers, boaters call navigation rules – the basic laws governing the steering or sailing of a boat – “The Rules of the Road.” Below are a few of the most important rules:

  • Post a lookout. Designate someone to watch for dangers that may come from any direction.
  • Maintain a safe speed. Except where speed is restricted by regulation or the waterway is marked by a “No Wake” or “Slow Speed,” you must judge “safe speed” for yourself, taking into account visibility, vessel traffic, your boat’s ability to maneuver, and the weather conditions.
  • Avoid a collision. The Rules of the Road include the actions to take when encountering another vessel on the water. Some of the most common situations you may encounter are overtaking, meeting head on, and crossing the bow of another vessel. In each case, the boat designated as the “give-way” vessel is required to yield to the other boat, while the boat designated as the “stand-on” vessel should maintain its course and speed.
  • When meeting another vessel head on, a port-to-port passing is preferred. Passing starboard-to-starboard is acceptable when necessary.
  • In a crossing situation, the give-way vessel must act to avoid a collision. This may include altering its course to pass astern of the stand-on vessel or slowing down. The stand-on vessel should maintain its course and speed.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a boating accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious California boating collision, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.