The survivors of a fatal Mattituck boating accident in November have put the Town on Southold on notice that they plan to sue them. They are collectively seeking $30 million for their losses against the New York town.
While recreational boaters can often just head to shore when the sun falls, if they're not comfortable driving at night, the same is not always true for those running commercial vessels. Schedules and jobs may require them to continue boating after dark.
Boating while intoxicated is prohibited in the state of New York. Anyone who is suspected of operating a water vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have their operator privileges suspended, be fined or imprisoned.
One of the biggest dangers to recreational boaters is boat operators who don't have the proper training. A state law that took effect on Jan. 1 is designed to improve that training. Known as "Brianna's Law," it requires people to pass a safety course before they can operates a motorized boat or other watercraft in the state.
When you hear about a boating accident on the news, it often involves a large cruise ship that came under distress due to hazardous conditions such as poor weather. Large ships sailing out in the middle of the ocean aren't the type of water vessel that's most vulnerable to having an accident though. Small, open boats that congregate in inland waters are at the highest risk for becoming involved in catastrophic incidents instead.
Working on a cruise ship provides the opportunity to enjoy a fast-paced environment while seeing the world. This is why so many people seek employment in this industry.
Many in Manhattan may not understand the enormity of the responsibility they assume when they agree to take passengers out on their boats. The complexity that comes with even recreational boating makes it such that the simple use of a life jacket may not be enough to guarantee passenger safety. Given that most people who travel on a boat likely do not understand this, it is up to those who own and pilot these vessels to ensure that every precaution is taken. When that does not happen, the results can often be disastrous.
Like many in Manhattan, you may not equate recreational boating to driving. Certain aspects of this activity may even seem to support your assumption. After all, there are typically not nearly as many boats on New York's lakes and rivers as there are on its roads, and it is not uncommon to bo out on the water and see a teen or even a child driving a boat. It is for these very reasons why so many of those that come to see us here at Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha LLP are so surprised to learn that people do indeed need to be licensed before they operate a boat.
Boating is likely considered to be a recreational activity by most in Manhattan. Because of this, few may view it as being potentially dangerous. Yet even boats and small watercraft are indeed high-powered motorized vehicles (in the same manner in which cars, trucks, and SUVs are). Thus, they are capable of causing devastation on the same scale as that seen in a car accident. Unfortunately, because boating is so often on a recreational basis, it often is accompanied by drinking. People who might never let the idea of driving their cars after drinking may not comprehend the dangers that may come with operating their boats while under the influence.
Most boating accidents that occur on New York City's waterways are just that: accidents. There rarely may be any degree of intent to harm on the part of the people responsible for such accidents. Yet what is often present is an element of negligence. Boating itself is viewed by many as being a leisure activity, yet what is lost in this perception is the fact that it must be done responsibly. Drinking often accompanies a boating excursion, which places the responsibility on boat owners to avoid doing anything that would compromise their abilities to operate their vessels (such as drink to excess). A failure to meet this responsibility can often produce devastating consequences.