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Spending time on a lake or river can be an excellent outing with family and friends, but boating safety is critical.  Careless maintenance, operating a boat while drinking alcohol, driving at high speeds, or weaving recklessly in and out among other boats can spell disaster.  Boating accidents often result in life-threatening injuries.

Data from Statista shows that 767 people died due to boating accidents in the U.S. in 2020, and 3,191 people were injured.  There is evidence, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, that boating activity increased significantly during the COVID pandemic, from reports of increased boat sales, insurance claims, insurance policies taken out, and calls for towing assistance. With the increased boating hours, there was a more significant risk of deaths, injuries, and accidents.

U.S. residents use boats for sporting activities like fishing, water skiing, tubing, day trips, and vacationing.  In 2020, property damage alone from recreational boating accidents in the U.S. totaled about $62.51 million.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs.  The skilled personal injury lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana fight aggressively to get the justice our clients deserve. You do not have to go alone during such a difficult time.

Foley, Alabama Lawyers

Call a boating accident lawyer in Mobile, AL, for a free initial consultation at (251) 444-7000 today.

Choosing the Right Mobile, AL Boating Accident Lawyer

We are boating accident lawyers who care about our clients

At Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, we take each case personally.  There’s nothing worse than insurance companies trying to lowball clients and pay them less than they deserve for the injuries they have suffered.

Our boating accident lawyers will not let that happen. We are aggressive negotiators, and we are not afraid to litigate a claim in court before a judge and jury if insurance companies refuse to negotiate in good faith.

To learn more about our outstanding boating accident lawyers, you can read our attorney bios. You can also see our proven case results on behalf of satisfied clients. Our boating accident lawyers fight aggressively to get the justice you deserve.

How Our Boat Accident Attorneys in Mobile Help

When our Mobile, AL, boating accident lawyers take on your case, you can focus on recuperating. At the same time, we work on building a compelling civil lawsuit or insurance claim against the individual or entity responsible for causing your injuries.

Every person’s case differs, but the claims process is relatively similar. Here is a general idea of how our boat accident attorneys will help you demand justice:

  • Our team will thoroughly investigate the cause of your boat accident and subsequent injuries.
  • We will determine who is liable for causing your accident and gather the evidence needed to prove their negligence and liability.
  • Your boating accident lawyer will go over the various ways your life has been affected by your injuries to calculate the value of your claim accurately.
  • Our team will determine whether you have the right to file a claim with the insurance company and Negotiate with Insurers for a fair settlement.
  • If your insurance settlement is insufficient, you can rely on your boating accident attorney to bring your case to trial, where it can be heard by a judge and jury.

Boating Accidents in the U.S. and Alabama

From 2019 to 2020, the number of boating accidents in America increased by 26.3% (4,168 to 5,265), and the number of non-fatally injured victims increased by 24.7% (2,559 to 3,191), according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard data shows that the most common vessel types involved in accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats. The vessel types with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (50%), kayaks (15%), and pontoons (9%).

Over 2,500 motor boats were involved in accidents in 2019 in the U.S.  Alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2020, accounting for over 100 deaths, or 18% of total fatalities, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard data shows that in 2020:

  • The fatality rate was 6.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, the highest in recent history. This rate represents a 25% increase from 2019’s fatality rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • Property damage totaled about $62.5 million.
  • Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Eight out of every ten drowned boaters used vessels less than 21 feet long.

Where the cause of death was known, 75% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 86% were not wearing a life jacket. There were about 11.84 million registered vessels in the United States in 2020. About 87.3 million U.S. adults participated in recreational boating in 2014.

Boating accidents in our state are on the rise.

In Alabama, boating accidents in just the first half of 2019 led to 25 deaths, surpassing year-end totals for the previous 20 years. In 2018, there were 75 boating accidents, resulting in 17 deaths. In 2017, there were 86 boating accidents, leading to 19 deaths. If you would like to talk to a boat accident lawyer in Alabama, call us at (251) 444-7000.

Boating Accident FAQs

Is There Such a Thing as a DUI for Boating?

Alabama law imposes DUI penalties on boaters just like on drunk drivers of other motor vehicles. An intoxicated boat operator can face fines, jail time, and other penalties. A boat operator who was drunk when you or a loved one was injured in an accident could represent liability and negligence related to your claim.

How Much Can You Get for a Boating Accident Lawsuit?

There is no “average” compensation for a boating accident. Each case is different, depending on the unique facts present. Generally, the more serious the injury, the greater the compensation. If gross negligence is involved, a court can also award additional punitive damages.

Can You Be Compensated for Pain and Suffering in a Boat Accident Case?

Yes, pain and suffering can factor into compensation for injuries suffered in a boating accident. Your personal injury attorney can advise you about asking for damages for pain and suffering in your particular lawsuit.

Is There Such a Thing as Wrongful Death in Boating Accidents?

Yes, you can file a wrongful death claim if a loved one is killed in a boating accident.  These cases proceed much like a wrongful death claim in a car accident.  In these cases, you can be compensated for funeral and burial costs and other damages.

Common Types and Causes of Boating Accidents

According to the U.S. Coast Guards Recreational Boating Guide in 2014, the primary boating accident types include:

  1. Collision with a recreational vehicle (937 accidents/40 deaths)
  2. Flooding/swamping (463 casualties/70 deaths)
  3. Collision with a fixed object (452 accidents/51 deaths)
  4. Grounding (359 accidents/13 deaths)
  5. Water skier mishap (292 accidents/8 deaths.)

Other types include:

  • Falls in or overboard a vessel
  • Persons ejected from a vessel
  • Fire or explosions that occur while underway and while anchored, moored, or docked
  • Another mishap involving a towable device
  • Striking a submerged object
  • A person struck by a vessel, propeller, propulsion unit, or steering machinery
  • Carbon monoxide exposure
  • Electrocution due to stray current related to a vessel
  • Casualties while swimming from a boat that is not anchored, moored, or docked.

The most common contributing factors in boating accidents include:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use
  • Machinery failure
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Hazardous waters
  • Weather
  • The force of waves/wake.

Injuries Resulting from Boating Accidents

Boats – especially those traveling at high speeds – can crash into other ships, flip over, or run aground.  These accidents can cause catastrophic injuries to passengers.  Some common injuries in boating accidents are:

Boating accidents not only result in cuts, breaks, burns, and head trauma but there is also the significant threat of drowning after being injured.  That is why boating accidents can be so catastrophic.

Boating Laws in Alabama

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency offers Boating Rules and Regulations.  The first five prohibited activities are:

  • Operating a boat if you are under the age of 12.  Residents must be 14 years old and have a vessel license to operate a vessel or personal watercraft alone.
  • Operating a vessel in such a manner and at a rate of speed will create a hazardous wash or wake when approaching or passing another ship or entering or leaving a harbor or marina area.
  • No person, except in jump buoys and like objects used typically in competitive and recreational skiing, shall operate or manipulate any vessel, tow rope, or another device by which the direction or location of water skis, aquaplane, or similar device may be affected or controlled in such a way as to cause the water skis, aquaplane, or similar device or any person thereon to collide with or strike any object or person.
  • Operating a vessel towing a person or persons on water skis, or an aquaplane or similar device unless there is in the ship a person, in addition to the operator, who is at least 12 years of age and is observing and is capable of communicating to the operator the progress of the person being towed or unless the vessel is equipped with a wide-angle mirror with a viewing surface of at least 500 sq. centimeters (78 square inches) and a field of vision of at least 170 degrees.
  • Operating a vessel above plane speed when persons or equipment are positioned in a manner that would obstruct the operator’s view or impair the vessel’s safe operation. (Sailboats are exempt from this section.)

Filing a Boat Accident Lawsuit

Let our experienced boating accident attorneys in Mobile get the justice you deserve

Filing a boat accident lawsuit may feel overwhelming, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries. You may be in pain, attending doctor appointments, and trying to keep up with day-to-day tasks. This is when a boating accident lawyer can help. Let us do the legal heavy lifting.

At Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, we have years of experience in successfully negotiating and litigating personal injury claims. Our legal team is compassionate and skilled, and we know how to walk beside you and make filing a claim as easy as possible.

We understand that you are hurting and stressed, and it is our job to put your mind at ease and help you move forward. Our attorneys are among the best and the brightest, and we know how to fight. We have a winning track record. So, you can relax and know that you are in good hands.

Call a Boating Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Injuries often mean mounting medical bills, time off work, and disability.

It is not fair that you should have to bear these costs alone, especially if the accident were due to someone else’s negligence.

Foley, Alabama Lawyers

Our attorneys fight hard for our clients to get the justice they deserve. To learn more about how we can help, call us for a free initial consultation at (251) 444-7000.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)


Our Award-Winning Alabama Accident Lawyers have recovered millions on behalf of our clients. At Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana, we understand what you’re going through after a crash. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s actions, our dedicated legal team is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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