One of the children was left in critical condition, and another was in serious condition after the boat on which they were riding capsized in San Francisco Bay earlier this month. The 34 foot boat overturned approximately 100 yards offshore from Pier 45. In total, thirty people were onboard, including three children. Authorities suspect that the boat may have overturned due to having too many passengers aboard.
Upon capsizing, some of the passengers were trapped under the hull of the boat. Despite the cold water and large number of passengers needing rescue, all 30 people were pulled from the water within 32 minutes by nearby boats, police, firefighters and Coast Guard crews. Fortunately for the people stranded by the boat, first responders were nearby conducting safety patrols due to Fleet Week, and therefore were equipped to respond rapidly.
Before the boat completely sunk, a woman and her four year old child were rescued from the boat’s cabin. The child was unconscious when he was pulled from the wreckage. He was administered CPR and revived before being taken to the hospital. The boy’s parents were also treated at the hospital before being released. Out of the 30 people onboard, five adults and the three children were hospitalized.
Boater safety on the waterways around the Bay Area is a major concern. Typically, each summer brings a number of boating injuries. Every boat accident is different, but in many cases the accident involves an inexperienced boat driver who takes to the water without considering the safety of his or her fellow passengers, as well as the people in other boats sharing the water.
If you or a family member has been injured in a boating accident in the San Francisco Bay or surrounding waterways, Liberty Law can help. Operators of boats and other personal watercraft, such as jet skis, have a responsibility under California law to safety operate their vessels, and to protect both their passengers as well as the other people on the water.
The common cause of boating accidents is negligence on the part of the boat’s driver. Inexperienced boaters may not know the rules about yielding the right of way to other boats, which leads to collisions. In some cases, boating accidents are caused by making contact with the wakes from other boats. Boating accidents can also be caused when an inexperienced driver hits unsuspected waves. In these instances, the driver of the boat may have trouble regaining control of the boat after it is knocked off-balance by the rough water. Additionally, the waters in and around the San Francisco Bay and San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta can become very shallow, and boaters often collide with submerged objects when unfamiliar with the area. In many cases, the boat owner may have failed to provide proper safety equipment to passengers, or in the instance of overloading the boat, may not have enough safety equipment for all of their passengers, leading to more injuries when a boating accident occurs. In all of these situations, the driver of the boat can be held liable for negligence if a passenger is injured as a result of the driver’s actions.
Another very common cause of boating accidents is boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s been shown that alcohol use is even more dangerous in water environments than on land. The boat’s vibrations and motion, along with sun and wind, can accelerate the impairment of the driver. Boaters become more tired more quickly than automobile drivers, which can also have an impact on the operator’s reaction times.
It is the duty and responsibility of every boater in the San Francisco Bay area to take measures to keep his or her passengers safe. If a boat driver fails to do that, the boat operator and the boat owner can not only face civil lawsuits for damages, but could even face criminal penalties in certain circumstances. If you or a loved one has been injured because of the reckless actions of a boater, call the personal injury attorneys at Liberty Law. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that anyone who causes a boating accident because of his or her unsafe actions should be held to account for his or her actions. Call the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Liberty at 510-645-1000 if you have been injured in a boating accident and wish to speak with an attorney about your legal options.