Contributors
Charles R. Lipcon

Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years.Read More »

Jason R. Marguiles

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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first aid, cpr, boating safety, boating accident lawyerOur boating accident attorneys here at LMAW recently discussed the importance of learning CPR and first aid techniques before going out into open water. These techniques can keep boaters and their passengers safe while also ensuring that boaters are self-reliant when they head out to remote areas on their boats. Heart attacks, drowning, and excessive bleeding are extreme medical emergencies that require stabilization of the victim and then hospitalization. Yet, there are some more common medical situations boaters might encounter while at sea that are both easily preventable and manageable—if caught early.

One of the most common conditions that individuals sailing on a boat may face is heat exhaustion. While this is actually a condition that can be treated successfully if caught in time, unfortunately, not many people are aware of the simple steps they can take to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the ways heat exhaustion can be treated.

First, it’s important to actually understand what heat exhaustion is. Heat exhaustion occurs when a person suffers from dehydration while experiencing hot temperatures: conditions that can easily arise when people are riding on a boat. Continue reading

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first aid, cpr, boating safety, boating accident lawyerBoaters may not realize it, but when they leave the shore and head out into open water, they are venturing out into a wilderness situation where help can be miles away and where self-reliance is key. There are many basic things boaters can do to be safer, among them requiring all passengers on board to wear safety vests and also ensuring that the boat has all required safety equipment in accordance with current Coast Guard regulations. One additional thing that boaters can do to be safe and keep those around them safe is to learn CPR and first aid skills.

CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is a form of first-aid that is administered to a victim whose heart has stopped. While a great majority of heart attack victims die before they reach the hospital (92%), The American Heart Association suggests that many more of these victims could have survived if people around them had known CPR techniques. For heart attack victims, CPR allows blood to keep flowing to the brain, ensuring that the brain stays alive, even after the heart has stopped. If a person can be kept alive long enough for doctors to discover what is blocking or stopping the heart, the person has a far greater chance of survival. If a heart attack victim receives CPR, his or her chances of survival increase by twofold or even threefold amounts. Medical advances in heart care make it possible for medical practitioners to keep victims alive in the hospital long enough to discover the heart problem, and, if possible, fix it. Unfortunately, many heart attack victims arrive at the hospital dead because those around them were not able to administer immediate first aid.

When individuals go out on boats, CPR training is even more critical because help can be miles and sometimes hours away. The American Heart Association reports that as many as 70% of Americans don’t know how to react in a cardiac emergency. Unfortunately, many of these emergencies take place at home or at places where immediate medical care is unavailable.

But as any boating accident lawyer at our firm can tell you, when individuals go out to sea, heart attacks are not the only risk. Continue reading

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boating season, boating accidents, boating safety, boating accident lawyersSpringtime is here, which means that boating season is back in full swing. Temperatures are warming up around the country, and eager sailors are ready to hit the waters and take advantage. Unfortunately, while boating season brings a host of exciting opportunities to experience the beauty of the great outdoors, the thrill of sailing, and the pleasure of spending quality time with loved ones, it also brings with it a greater number of dangers that can lead to serious accidents.

During boating season, you’ll naturally see a huge increase in traffic on waterways. What makes this an issue is that not everyone operating a boat or water craft is experienced or careful to abide by proper maritime safety laws. Because there are a greater number of people occupying waterways, there is a larger chance of finding reckless boaters who will disregard safety regulations. There will be a greater number of boaters who will speed, drink while boating, fail to ensure their vessels are properly maintained, and engage in a slew of other unsafe actions.

Though our boating accident lawyers here at LMAW have offered several tips on how to stay safe while out on a boat or personal water craft, there are some boaters who don’t understand the gravity of engaging in reckless actions in open waters, and place themselves – and everyone within their radius – in harm’s way. It’s important to remember that even the most prudent and experienced of boaters can fall victim to an accident, whether due to their own or someone else’s careless actions or because of unforeseen circumstances.

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Safety tips, fishing, boating accident lawyerFishing is often seen as a relaxing sport that allows participants to enjoy time in nature, and maybe get a nice meal or two out of it in the process. But with fishing season is fast-approaching, it’s important to remember that though fun, any activity in open water carries a risk of danger – even fishing. Any boating accident lawyer at our firm can tell you horror stories of fishermen that can leave you cringing, but the best way to avoid a tragedy is through awareness.

So, before you take out your tackle and hit the coast, shore, or high seas, be sure to take the time to brush up on safety laws and tactics. Below are seven important safety tips that will help reduce your risk of accident and injury while fishing, whether you are an experienced angler or novice fishing enthusiast: Continue reading

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maritime law, admiralty law, admiralty lawyer, boating accident, boating accident claimIn February, a federal judge sent a boating accident case down to state court, arguing that, in this instance, U.S. maritime law didn’t apply. Matthew Ficarra was riding on Bruce Germain’s 38-foot boat in Oneida Lake’s Three Mile Bay, when he performed a back flip off the boat, hit his head in shallow water, and was paralyzed as a result of his injuries.

Germain claimed that federal courts had jurisdiction over the case because the case fell under U.S. maritime law. Germain sought federal jurisdiction, because, had maritime law held, Germain would have only been liable for Ficarra’s accident up to the value of the vessel. According to the New York Law Journal, the value of Germain’s vessel would have set an upper limit on the amount Germain would have to pay Ficarra.

Generally, maritime law applies to commercial vessels. Yet, maritime law can also apply in cases where accidents occur in interstate waters. Interstate waters are generally defined as navigable bodies of water that border two or more states. This means that injuries and accidents that take place in oceans, lakes, or rivers that border states can fall under admiralty law.

The judge wrote in the ruling that the accident would not have caused any disruption to commercial shipping. The fact that the body of water is located centrally in New York state and not along a border and the fact that the body of water where the accident took place isn’t frequently used by commercial shipping vessels likely resulted in the case being sent to state court.

For anyone who has been injured in a boating accident, it’s important to understand the difference between cases that fall under state law and those that can fall under admiralty law, and whether a case can be filed under both. Continue reading

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Boating safety checklist for springSpring is just around the corner. Soon, it will be time to put away those coats and hats, and take out your shorts, your cooler, and get your boat or jet ski ready for the season. Yet, before you go out on the water this spring, there are some important things you should consider to make sure that your boat and jet skis are safe.

Our boating accident attorneys here at LMAW see more accidents in the spring due to increased traffic. Poor maintenance and lack of proper safety equipment sometimes contributes to these accidents and, in some cases, a lack of proper safety equipment exacerbates emergencies. If you’ve kept your boat in storage over winter, it may need some patching up, and your equipment might need to be double-checked. Cold weather can damage your equipment, so it’s best to make sure everything is working before you head out onto the water.

First off, it’s important to note that every boat is different, and the kinds of checks you’ll perform for a motorboat will be a little different than the kinds of checks you’d perform for a sailboat. Always read your owner’s manual and perform any safety checks recommended by the manufacturer. Continue reading

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boating accidentAny boating accident attorney at our firm can tell you that though there are several maritime laws across the United States that were enacted with the purpose of regulating safety on open waters, tragic accidents continue to occur. Sometimes, the laws in place are not strict enough and do not sufficiently protect the safety of boaters. Other times, boaters ignore these laws and engage in reckless actions, such as drinking while boating or speeding, which can lead to serious – if not fatal – outcomes.

Unfortunately, many boating accident victims are unaware of their rights – especially rights concerning their safety and rights to take action following injury or loss of a loved one. However, the parents of two young women who were killed in unrelated boat accidents in Lake Marion last year in South Carolina took a stand, hoping that their tragic experiences can call attention to the dangers of boating, as well as lead lawmakers to improve maritime safety regulations in the state.

And, it appears as though their efforts have proved successful. A recent news report explains that two state senators have already proposed safety regulations they believe will allow boaters to enjoy their time in open waters, while also (and most importantly) allowing them to remain safe.

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boating accidentsAccording to the U.S. Coast Guard, drunken boating is responsible for more fatal accidents that any other factor. More states are enacting harsher penalties for drunken boating. For instance, boaters who are caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher in Florida are subject to penalties similar to driving while under the influence of alcohol. A first offense carries with it a fine up to $1,000 and imprisonment up to 6 months. A second offense brings with it a fine up to $2,000 and imprisonment up to 9 months. If a person’s blood alcohol level is found to be much higher than the legal limit, offenders face more serious charges including required substance abuse treatment courses and mandatory community service.

These harsh penalties are put in place because drunk boaters pose a very real and serious risk to other people out on the water. On January 20th, a drunken boater received a jail sentence of 5 to 15 years for causing an accident that left two people dead. Brandon Verfaillie who was responsible for the deadly accident expressed his regret. His speedboat slammed into a cabin cruiser on the St. Clair river. He was found to be drunk at the time.

Thanks to Boaters Against Drunk Driving, more states have enacted harsher penalties for boaters who choose to drive while under the influence. Boaters Against Drunk Boating has also been monitoring drunk boating cases throughout the U.S. to ensure that boaters who are accused of drinking and boating are convicted and sentenced for their offense.

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Boaters these days have access to more technology than ever to keep themselves safe when they hit the high seas. Modern technology has allowed boaters to accomplish extraordinary feats safely that would otherwise have been unimaginable in times past. While Magellan might have sailed around the world in 1522, his crew did this without GPS or other key devices that made for a safer crossing. These days, devices like satellite phones and positioning systems have made it possible for youths like Laura Dekker to sail alone around the world, safely.

So, with the spring boating season just a few months away, it’s time to consider what new gear you’ll be buying to make your boat safer and your boating experience more enjoyable. Here’s a list of the top five high-tech boating devices our boating accident lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. believe will help keep you safe out at sea:

  1. GPS. Modern GPS systems have made it possible for novice and experienced boaters alike to know exactly where they are in the ocean. Modern GPS devices rely on satellites to locate the position of a boat on the water. GPS devices also have the added benefit of helping boaters identify underwater terrain. This can prevent boaters from getting stranded in shallow water. Some GPS devices even help fishermen identify the location of schools. When deciding which GPS device to purchase, boaters should consider the number of satellites the device uses, the size of the screen, and what kind of additional alarms and safety features the device includes.
  2. Wireless Radars. These days, boaters can have their very own radar station on board the ship. Some of the more high-tech devices link up to an iPhone or iPad, allowing boaters to get up-to-the-minute weather reports. Boaters can avoid patches of severe weather using the device, or navigate around storm cells. These devices essentially provide boaters with their very own on-board weather station.
  3. Night Vision. Many boaters who choose to boat at night have been investing in night vision equipment. Thermal imaging cameras allow boaters to identify potential obstacles. Furthermore, this equipment allows boaters to successfully navigate in foggy, smoky, or particularly stormy conditions.
  4. Satellite Hotspots and Cell Service. If your phone isn’t a satellite phone, it can be difficult to maintain communication with loved ones if you leave areas where there is no cell phone service. If you’re traveling out into the sea, having cell phone service can mean the difference between a quick rescue and long days at sea without contact with land. For individuals who don’t want to invest in a satellite phone, there are devices that can turn your existing phone into a satellite device. Many of the services cost about $40.00 per month, plus the cost of the device. The system works anywhere in the world.
  5. Electronic Charts. Gone are the days where boaters have to carry around heavy and cumbersome nautical charts that could get wet, torn, or stained. Now, electronic charts offer up-to-date navigation information for boaters. Because these charts are more readily updated, boaters don’t have to worry about hitting new underwater obstacles.

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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