Contributors

Charles R. Lipcon
Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years. Read More »
Jason R. Margulies
Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Ricardo V. Alsina
Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims. Read More »
Michael A. Winkleman
Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes. Read More »

Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

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In the wake of the holiday season, our boating accident lawyers have seen numerous reports of accidents and injuries that could have easily been prevented. Last month, a three year old girl had to be airlifted to the hospital in Santa Cruz when the boat she was riding aboard flipped and hit rocks. San Jose Mercury News reported that the vessel was attempting to reach the shore, despite high swells, when the accident occurred. The boat was a rental and the business had warned its patrons about how to approach the shore safely. In this case, negligence and recklessness led to needless injuries suffered by a child.

This incident highlights the inherent risks of navigating in shallow waters. Fortunately, there are many things responsible boaters can do to prevent these types of boating accidents. Here are some important tips you can follow: Continue reading →

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boating accidentsRob Konrad’s recent – and miraculous – story of survival, where he explains he swam 9 miles to shore after falling from his vessel while fishing, offers a terrifying reminder of the inherent risks of an accident at sea. Konrad explained that he had several opportunities to be rescued while he was swimming toward shore. On one occasion, he noticed a vessel about 50 yards away. Despite his attempts to flag the vessel for help, the boat passed him by. On another occasion, the Coast Guard, despite using lights and other spotting equipment, failed to see him in the water. Konrad explains that when the Coast Guard left him, he knew for sure that he was on his own.

Though Konrad survived, his experience is not one that is typical for boating accident victims, and highlights the dangers solo boaters face when they go out to sea alone, especially of falling overboard. Fortunately, there are several measures boaters sailing alone can take to protect themselves when they head out for a day of fishing or exploring. Here are a few safety tips that the boating accident lawyers at our firm have outlined, which can help increase a victim’s chances of survival:

 

1) Wear a life jacket

This one goes without saying. Life Jackets are often the only line of defense that a boating accident victim has to survive. They are extremely critical because they will keep a victim afloat, even if the victim is injured or unconscious – which is especially important for solo boaters. Continue reading →

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Rob Konrad, boating accidentWe recently wrote about Miami Dolphins Fullback, Rob Konrad’s harrowing nine mile swim to safety following a boating accident in South Florida waters. However, the exact circumstances surrounding the cause of the actual accident remained unclear, until now. In the past several days, Konrad has opened up about his perilous journey to shore. He addressed a press conference on Monday to speak about his traumatic adventure.

Konrad explained that “an unusually large wave” struck his vessel last Wednesday evening. He wasn’t sure whether the wave was due to the natural tide or due to a passing boat’s wake, but explained that the wave hit his boat while a fish was pulling on his line. Konrad went on to say that the combination of forces, the wave and the fish’s pull on his line, caused him to be ejected from the boat. The former NFL player also noted that he realized he was in trouble when he hit the water. After briefly panicking—as anyone would—he made the difficult decision to swim toward shore.

Word of Konrad’s impressive feat has awed audiences far and wide, including Diana Nyad, the famed long-distance swimmer. Continue reading →

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What to do in man overboard situationsWe recently written about former Miami Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad who swam nine miles to shore after he fell off his boat. Boating accidents of this type are actually more common than we’d like to think and they can be particularly dangerous if boaters become separated from their boats while solo-boating.

Falling overboard on a sailboat is actually particularly dangerous. With all the moving sails, it is possible for a passenger or sailor to get knocked overboard by a boom. Man overboard scenarios are actually among the most reported boating emergencies. People fall overboard for many reasons. Bad weather or strong waves can knock a person into the water. Slippery decks can also create a situation where a boater falls from their vessel, as can leaning over the edge of a vessel or getting hit by a part of the boat.

In the event of an overboard accident, there are several things people can do to assist the victim. First, immediately stop the vessel’s engine or drop the sails to remain in the area where the victim fell overboard. Do not back the vessel up, because this can lead the victim to sustain an injury from contact with the boat’s propellers. Propeller accidents are very common and can lead to life-threatening – if not fatal – injuries.

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Former Miami Dolphins Fullback Swims 9 Miles to Shore Following Boating AccidentWe’ve heard stories that reach national news about individuals falling off of cruise ships. At the end of December, our maritime lawyers wrote about a Holland America crew member whose body was found on a Florida beach after he fell overboard.

Yet, while there have been over 200 cruise ship overboard accidents in the past 15 years alone, there is another, equally – if not more dangerous – risk of falling overboard from a personal water craft. Sailors train to avoid man overboard situations, as these situations can be deadly, especially in solo-sailing scenarios. Recovering victims from the water in cases where there are other people on board can also be a challenge if there are rough seas. Sailors are at greater risk of falling overboard because sailboats experience more pitch and yaw than other watercraft, though the risk of falling overboard on any personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, is always present.

Solo watercraft users are more likely to suffer fatal injuries if they fall overboard. Rough water can make it impossible for individuals to swim back to their vessel. If waters are frigid, hypothermia can quickly set in. And, if a victim isn’t wearing a life jacket, especially if they suffer a debilitating injury, there is a huge risk of drowning. While rescue personnel can fairly easily spot a boat on the ocean, it can be much more difficult to spot a person in the water, especially if the victim isn’t wearing a life jacket with rescue features. Currents can sweep a person far from their boat in unpredictable directions.

However, there are rare times when a boating accident victim survives, even under seemingly impossible circumstances. On Wednesday, January 7th, the real risk of what can happen when a person falls overboard from a personal watercraft became evident. The harrowing story is both inspiring and sobering.

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Canine maritime survival storiesOver the past several weeks, our maritime lawyers have blogged about countless stories of tragedy at sea. Boating accidents, near drownings, and other tragedies occur frequently. Sadly, as we’ve discovered, many of these accidents could have been easily prevented with proper precaution or safety measures.

Today, we’ll take a little break from these tragedies to recount two heartwarming stories of canine maritime survival.

The first story is about a resourceful canine named Sophie Tucker, who fell overboard from a yacht near Queensland in 2008 and survived despite all odds. Sophie Tucker swam through shark-infested waters, eventually finding her way to remote, St. Bees Island. Reports claim that she swam five miles over a barrier reef notorious for dangerous marine life. Numerous boaters claim that dogs don’t often survive long when they swim in the ocean where Sophie Tucker fell overboard, and captains won’t even let their animals swim in the area.

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Airboat accidentOviedo authorities have identified the bodies of a missing boater and passenger who died in an airboat accident in Lake Jesup that took place on Sunday, December 28 when the airboat struck State Road 417 Bridge in Central Florida. It is unclear why the accident took place, but the incident highlights the fact that airboats pose risks and can be dangerous if not maneuvered safely.

Airboats are different from conventional boats in that the engine is located above water and is often enclosed in a safety mesh. The location of the engine above the water protects animals that may be located beneath the surface and allows the boat to operate in swampy conditions that would not be navigable by conventional boats. Despite these adaptations, airboats, like traditional boats, are subject to the same accident hazards that conventional boaters face. If not carefully maneuvered, these boats can strike bridges, pylons, or other structures.

Airboats have some navigation limitations. They cannot be maneuvered in reverse and they can only be steered when the engine is running and providing forward thrust. The boats are meant to be best suited for shallow water though they can function in deeper water. Given these additional considerations, operators should be aware of the risks, limitations, and hazards of these boats before they attempt to navigate narrow channels or hazardous areas with high traffic.

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Life jacketsWith the long holiday weekend approaching, and many boaters thinking about taking to the water, this might be a good opportunity to make sure that you and your passengers are following best safety practices. One small safety measure that boaters can take to keep themselves and their passengers safe is to wear life jackets while on board.

While wearing a life jacket can save your life and your passenger’s lives, many boaters aren’t aware that life jacket storage can have a huge effect on the longevity and effectiveness of a life jacket.

According to Boating magazine, in October, the U.S. Coast Guard eliminated numerical designations on personal flotation devices. This means that boaters don’t need to do extensive research about which type of flotation device is required for their vessel. Every state still has its own designations regarding life jacket requirements for children.

The U.S. Coast Guard explains that certain life jackets are designed to keep an individual’s head above water. Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard requires all recreational boats to carry one wearable life jacket for each person on board. Boats that are 16 feet or longer, must carry one PFD or throwable life jacket.

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Happy Holidays from our maritime lawyers at LMAWThe holiday season is in full swing, and our maritime lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. want to make sure you and your loved ones are enjoying a wonderful – and safe – holidays, especially if you decide to go on a cruise vacation or boat outing. Though we’ve been lucky that there has been a push for greater transparency in cruise accident and crime reporting, which has increased the public’s awareness of what really goes on aboard a ship as well as placed greater focus on the industry itself and (hopefully) has led cruise lines to make sure they are abiding by proper safety standards, the fact still remains that tragedies can – and do – continue to occur on the high seas.

If you are planning to head to sea during the holidays, it’s important to understand the dangers that can present themselves while on a cruise or on a pleasure craft. While there are times when freak accidents can occur, many maritime accidents and crimes are the result of operator negligence, and there are things passengers can do to reduce their risk of becoming a victim. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help ensure you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible while out at sea.

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-As any experienced maritime attorney can tell you, accident prevention and safety should be of paramount concern for boaters. Last month, we wrote about the top ten causes of boating accidents in 2013. Yet, there is another silent killer lurking in the shadows: carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted and it can lead to death whether boaters are exposed to it inside or outside their vessels. Even a few breaths of this deadly substance can be fatal. To make matters worse, carbon monoxide poisoning has the same physical symptoms as sea sickness or intoxication, so it can sometimes be difficult to know whether you’re just feeling a little woozy due to choppy waves or because of the deadly effects of carbon monoxide.

Fortunately, most carbon monoxide poisonings are easily preventable. First of all, boaters should be aware of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC provides a list of the most common physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These are:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

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