A group of boaters in Austin, Texas, have made national news after getting much more than they bargained for when they decided to participate in a parade that was meant to show their support for the president’s re-election campaign. Five of the boats sank and at least three others took on water. While nobody was injured, at least 15 rescue calls were sent out because of problems the boaters had staying afloat.
What caused all the issues? Initially, some reports indicated that the weather on Lake Travis was just too rough to handle — but officials from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office say that wasn’t the case. Instead, the boats that took on water or went down were victims of other, bigger boats and their own proximity to each other.
In their enthusiasm to showcase their support for their political party, the boaters congregated too closely together and circled around at exuberant speeds. This created some large waves in their wake, which easily overwhelmed some of the smaller vessels — even though weather conditions were calm.
Boaters in other areas are planning similar events, but this incident is a reminder that caution needs to prevail over everything else — even when you’re just having a good time. When managing a boat’s wake, boaters should keep an eye on both their weight load and their speed. It’s best to make certain that the weight is evenly distributed from bow to stern, and boaters should always reduce their speeds when they’re in close quarters or shallow waters with other boaters.
With that in mind, it’s wise to remember that if you’re injured by another recreational boater’s careless actions, you may have a right to pursue compensation for your losses. Maritime accidents are complicated, so speak to an experienced attorney about your case.