Boating accidents causes and establishing liability

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Boating Accidents

As warm weather begins to set in, residents in Massachusetts and elsewhere begin to plan their summer activities and vacations. For many, this means taking to the water on a personal or rented boat. While this is a great way to enjoy the summer, it is an activity that includes risks.

As with driving a car, operating a boat exposes the driver and occupants to certain risks. Although the rate of boating accidents does not compare to those occurring on the roadways, there remains a concern for boating injuries and fatalities due to negligence or boating under the influence. Thus, it is important to be aware of your rights and options following a boating accident.

Boating accidents

Boating accidents are typically defined as involving a recreational boat. This includes a wide range of vessels such as motorboats, pontoons, personal watercrafts, sailboats, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, center-console runabouts, cabin cruisers, tenders, inflatable and semi-rigid inflatable boats, go-fast boats, airboats and yachts.

Much like a motor vehicle accident could have a variety of causes, so too can boating accidents. Based on data from the U.S. Coast Guard, there are certain causes that consistently top the list. The top four leading causes for boat collisions and accidents include operator inattention and improper lookout, operator inexperience and excessive speed, operating the boat in dangerous conditions and boating under the influence.


Following a boating accident, if it is determined that the conduct of a negligent party lead to the boat accident, that individual could be held liable for the injuries, damages and deaths resulting from the incident. It should be noted that the operator of the boat is not always the liable party or the only party responsible for the accident. Other liable parties can include the owner of the boat, the boat manufacturer, the boat rental company and even boat passengers that acted negligently or recklessly.

A personal injury action could help establish liability and aid in the recovery of compensation for the losses and damages suffered. This civil action can be a complex process. A legal professional can help explain the process and what steps are required to move forward with the action.


FindLaw Network