Legal Responsibilities of Boat Operators
Most Floridians have been on a boat ride. However, they understand that it can be dangerous to be out in the open seas as there is a lot of unpredictability in what could happen. The safety of passengers and guests is usually up to the boat owner or operator and it can become a legal issue if someone gets injured on the boat. It is therefore important that boat owners and operators know what their legal responsibilities and liabilities are so that they can avoid lawsuits.
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Keeping the Boat Seaworthy
Most of the injuries that happen on boats are because the boat was not ready for the sea. These injuries may be due to loose fittings, or a ladder that is not secured properly. It is therefore important that a boat owner services their boat regularly to ensure it is ready for the sea and to minimize the chances of someone getting injured while on a boat ride.
Warn Your Guests
Some of the cases that reach the desk of a South Florida personal injury attorney are because the owner of the boat did not warn their quests of something that caused the injury. For example, the boat might have been on the sea and there was a tripping hazard that the boat owner did not warn his guests about. If you are a boat owner, it is a good idea to take a walk inside and around the boat, making note of any areas where guests can get injured. This will ensure that you know about all these hazards and can give sufficient warnings if you think a guest is likely to be injured.
Turn Off the Boat When Guests Are in the Water
Propeller strikes are quite common. They happen when people get into the water while the engine is running. It is the responsibility of the boat owner to warn people not to get to close to the propeller and if they need to go towards the rear of the boat, the owner or operator has to switch the engine off. It is also a good idea for boat owners to teach their guests how to get back on the boat safely. This will minimize the chances of injuries happening when guests are re-boarding.
Warnings About Other Dangers
Apart from inside and around the boat, dangers lurk elsewhere when a boat is out on the open seas. Injuries could happen when the boat hits a wave, as other boats are passing or when the weather changes suddenly. If the boat owner is not prepared to deal with these issues, any injuries that occur as a result of them could result in a lawsuit.
Open and Obvious Dangers
Open and obvious dangers include things like open hatches. In most cases, if someone gets injured from an open and obvious hazard, their lawsuit does not result in a ruling against the boat owner or operator. That said, it is always important to take precautions because courts have had issues interpreting what can or cannot be classified as an open and obvious danger.
A boat can be a dangerous place and when injuries happen on or around the boat, the owner or operator might be sued for these injuries. The best way to ensure this does not happen is to be aware of any dangers on and around the boat, take care of them, and warn your guests of any areas where you think they might get injured.