Boat Accidents in Scottsdale

Scottsdale Personal Injury Lawyer Works Closely with Clients

Arizona can be hot and dry, but with its many lakes and thousands of boats and other watercrafts, it has an unusually long season for water sports and water sports injuries. If you have been to one of the lakes near Scottsdale lately, you have seen how crowded they can be with boats, boards, skis and personal watercraft. With no certification requirements, anybody can operate a speed/motor boat, jet ski or other "personal watercraft." It's enough to make anyone who is on or in the water very nervous.

For the sake of comparison, imagine how dangerous our highways and city streets would be if nobody needed a learner's permit, driver's license or vision exam to drive a car or truck.

And then imagine no speed limits, no directional arrows, no traffic signals and no lane markings. Now, assume that about half of the drivers you saw on the streets and roads had been drinking alcohol all day and that some of those cars and trucks had 100-foot ropes swinging back and forth off the back with live people attached!! Got the picture? Unfortunately, lakes can be deadly when you combine inexperienced boaters, a cooler full of beer, powerful watercraft, razor sharp propellers, skiers or wake boarders swinging back and forth, and hundreds of other boaters all dealing with similar distractions!!

Our firm represents clients throughout Arizona who have suffered personal injuries or wrongful death in accidents and collisions involving motor boats, jet skis, personal watercraft, water skis, wake boards, etc. These sometimes tragic incidents do not always occur out on the water; they can happen on the beach, at the docks, inside the boats, or in the water near the boat exhaust. Many factors can cause or contribute to a boating injury or death. Here are some examples:

  • Driver/Operator error
  • Driver/Operator inexperience
  • Boating/Skiing/Boarding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Equipment failure
  • Exhaust fumes & carbon monoxide poisoning (See below)
  • Adverse weather and/or water conditions

Boating Accident and Fatality Statistics

According to the 2012 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of the United States Coast Guard's "Recreational Boating Statistics 2012" (which "may be copied and distributed freely in the interest of boating safety):

  1. The Top Five accident types are:
  • Collisions between watercraft (leading cause of injuries)
  • Flooding/swamping (leading cause of deaths)
  • Collisions with fixed objects
  • Grounding
  • Skier mishaps
  1. The Top Ten Primary Contributing Factors:
  • Operator inattention (most injuries)
  • Operator inexperience
  • Improper lookout
  • Machinery failure
  • Excessive speed
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Alcohol use (most deaths)
  • Force of wave/wake
  • Weather
  • Hazardous waters


(Source: 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, U.S. Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Coast Guard – Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety.)

Don't Become a Statistic

Operators of boats, jet skis and sail boats can be held financially liable for accidents caused by their negligence or drunk driving. If someone drowns due to a lack of life preservers or is injured in an on-board fire, a boat owner can be held responsible for the injuries or fatalities that result. Under Arizona dram shop laws, in cases involving "boating under the influence (BUI)," marinas, bars and other establishments can be held liable if it can be proven that a boat's operator was served alcohol while visibly intoxicated. We also represent clients who have been injured as a result of defective boat parts.

Boating Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving or Negligence.

We work with investigators to determine why a boating accident happened and what could and should have been done to prevent it. In BUI cases, we review credit card statements, tabs and restaurant bills to determine how much alcohol someone was served and over what period of time. We have the investigative resources and knowledge needed to expose negligence and violations of the law in boating accidents.

As a general rule of law boat and personal watercraft operators and owner must exercise a high degree of care to prevent injuries to passengers in or on the craft, and swimmers, skiers or others in the waters or boats nearby. We will discuss your situation and go over the options available to you, as well as work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to make sure all your needs are handled quickly and appropriately.

Injuries and Boating Accidents

Our law office represents boating accident victims who have suffered:

  • Amputations due to propeller accidents
  • Head trauma
  • Bank and neck injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Disfigurement
  • Drowning
  • Other fatalities

Boats and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Silent, Odorless, Deadly

Each year, boaters are injured or killed by carbon monoxide. Most occur on older boats, and within the cabin or other enclosed areas. Virtually all carbon monoxide poisonings are preventable. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil burns. Sources on your boat include gasoline engines and generators, cooking ranges, space heaters and water heaters. Cold and poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and mixes evenly with the air.

It enters your blood stream through the lungs and displaces the oxygen your body needs. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness – all of which are often confused with "seasickness." Exposure to carbon monoxide gas often causes brain damage; and prolonged exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide gas is lethal. Carbon monoxide can collect in or immediately adjacent to a boat in a variety of ways. Boat engine exhaust leaks are the leading cause of death by carbon monoxide, can allow carbon monoxide to migrate throughout the boat and into enclosed areas. Even properly vented exhaust can re-enter a boat if it's moored too close to a dock or another boat, or if the exhaust is pushed back by prevailing winds. Exhaust can also re-enter boats when cruising under certain conditions -- the station wagon effect -- especially with canvas in place.

The Watkin Law Office, PC is a Scottsdale personal injury and wrongful death law firm that represents serious boat injury and wrongful death victims throughout Arizona, including Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Cave Creek, Carefree, Fountain Hills and Paradise Valley.

Contact us at (480) 347-9804 to arrange a consultation. When results matter, choose The Watkin Law Office, PC.

REMEMBER: If the other side's claims adjuster calls to "interview" you or "take your statement," politely decline -- at least until after you have spoken with an experienced boating injury and wrongful death attorney. Despite what the insurance adjuster might tell you, he or she is NOT "just trying to help."

Experienced Personal Injury Firm

Contact The Watkin Law Office, PC

Put 35+ Years Of Legal Experience In Your Corner

Send My Information