mastA day of sailboat racing among friends in the San Francisco Bay turned deadly last week. A 42-foot sailboat from Redwood City was sailing in the Bay with four people aboard. It got too close to a channel marker and snagged its rigging and sail, which caused the mast to snap. The mast fell, hitting two people aboard the boat. A powerboat that was nearby rushed to the scene and took the two injured men to shore. One of the men was taken to the hospital with injuries to his back, head, and neck. The other man was pronounced dead.

The skipper was given a sobriety test, which he passed. Several witnesses were interviewed in an attempt to find out what made the mast topple over. The police believe that it was simply a tragic accident. At the time of the accident, around 30 boats were participating in a weekly race that happens from mid-April through late September. The race last week was the first race of the year.

Boating is a wonderful hobby and a fun way to enjoy the beauty of the Bay. Unfortunately, some boaters who aren’t careful may find that their trip has turned deadly, typically because of their negligence or the negligence of other boaters. By law, the operators of boats have a duty to their passengers, as well as other boaters, to navigate the boat in a safe manner. If the operator of a boat is negligent, they may be held civilly liable for that negligence, or may even face criminal charges in some cases.

One of the biggest causes of boat accidents is the use of alcohol while boating. While it may be natural to want to drink some beer or wine while you are enjoying a day of fun in the sun on your boat, just as in a car, there needs to be a designated skipper or pilot on the boat who is not drinking. According to the Coast Guard, anyone navigating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration over .10 are more than 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident as those who have not been drinking. Also, if you have been drinking and you are involved in a boating accident, you are more likely to drown if you enter the water.

In addition to drinking, some of the other biggest causes of boating accidents are speeding, failing to maintain a lookout, operator inattention, and bad behavior by a passenger or water skier. These behaviors can cause boat collisions, flooding, capsizing, passengers falling overboard, fires, and more. Some accidents are also caused by mechanical problems with the boat itself or its accessories.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may have legal help available for your injuries. If the accident was caused by the boat’s mechanical problems, you may be able to sue the manufacturer or retailer for your injuries. If the injuries occurred as the result of negligent behavior from the skipper or pilot, the boat’s owner, or another party, that person may be legally liable for your injuries.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that those who are injured in boating accidents should pursue compensation from the responsible parties before it becomes too late to file a lawsuit. If you have been injured in a boat accident, call Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. Micha Star Liberty will be happy to assist you with your claim. She is a personal injury attorney in the San Francisco Bay area who works with clients throughout the area, including Oakland, Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. Call today to schedule your free consultation.



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