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Tips for Preventing Boating Accidents

Watercraft Injury Lawyer Serving Victims in Maryville and East Tennessee

While out on the water in East Tennessee, every boating operator should practice good seamanship, while maintaining safe speeds and distances from other vessels and objects or people in the water. Unfortunately, not every boating operator behaves responsibly, and many do not even take the same precautions that they would take when driving on land. Boating while under the influence, for example, may have the same tragic consequences as driving under the influence. If you are injured in a crash on the water, Maryville boating accident attorney Mark Hartsoe is ready to help you pursue damages.

Tips for Preventing Boating Accidents

Careless or reckless boating often contributes to devastating accidents. It is best to act responsibly and emphasize safety in order to prevent accidents. Boaters should follow the rules set forth in the Tennessee Boating Safety Act. For example, under Tennessee Code section 69-9-216, nobody is allowed to interfere with the safe operation of a motorboat or vessel or manipulate water skis and other recreational devices in a reckless or negligent way, such that someone else is endangered.

Boating operators should be aware that it is illegal to operate a powered boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs under Tennessee Code section 69-9-217. In Tennessee, everyone who operates these boats gives implied consent to chemical tests to determine whether they have alcohol or drugs in their system. All operators of boats involved in accidents producing death or serious injuries must give blood. When a boat operator has a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater, they are presumed to be under the influence and to have an impaired ability to operate a vessel.

A boating operator who causes an accident while under the influence is likely to be found negligent per se in addition to facing criminal charges for operating under the influence. In Tennessee, this means that the operator is negligent as a matter of law. Someone is negligent per se if they violate a safety law, the violation is the legal cause of the victim’s injuries, and the injuries were of the type that the safety law was designed to prevent.

In Tennessee, the reckless operation of a vessel is a crime even when alcohol is not involved. It includes any action that jeopardizes life, limb, or property, including operating a boat in swimming areas, excessive speeding, operating a boat that is overloaded, riding on seatbacks or gunwales while over an idle speed, and towing a skier in crowded waters where they are likely to hit someone.

All boating operators should make sure that their boat is adequately equipped with safety equipment, including personal flotation devices for everyone onboard and tools for minor repairs. The boating operator should drive at a safe speed, obey rules of the water, and watch their wake to avoid injuries to others. People onboard should stay seated and avoid fooling around. Tennessee follows the rules of modified comparative negligence. A boating accident victim's damages will be reduced by their degree of fault for an accident, and they will not be able to receive any compensation if they were 50% or more at fault.

If someone falls overboard, it is critical to have a life-saving device, such as a life ring that can be tossed out immediately. When someone onboard is able to do so, that person should also be able to put on a life-saving device and go into the water with a line attached to the boat to help the person who fell. The motor should be stopped. A boating operator may be held liable for negligence if they fail to have safety devices for their passengers.

Explore Your Options with Maryville Attorney Mark Hartsoe After a Boating Accident

It is important to follow tips for preventing boating accidents. If you have been hurt on the water, Maryville boating accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe can develop an appropriate strategy to seek compensation. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to schedule a free consultation. Mark Hartsoe assists people who need a watercraft injury lawyer throughout East Tennessee, including in Blount, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.

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