Summer is almost here. The weather is warming up and people are getting their boats prepped for some time out on the water. Boating is an enjoyable hobby that can range from relaxing cruises or fishing trips to extreme water sports and everything in between. When boaters take precautions, this pastime is a safe way to enjoy the outdoors. But when boaters take too many risks, tragic accidents can happen.

What is a Boating Accident?

A boating accident can include a capsize, flood, explosion, break down, or collision. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources notes that the state requires boaters to remain at the scene in the event of an accident. If anyone is injured or dies in the crash, the state also requires boaters file an accident report within 24 hours. Failure to meet this requirement can result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the severity of the accident.

Law enforcement officers can also pursue criminal charges when a boater fails to safely operate their vessel. This can include driving while facing backwards, weaving through a congested area, following another watercraft too closely or failing to follow boating restrictions.

It is also illegal to operate a watercraft when intoxicated. Just like driving a car, drunk boat driving is also illegal. If an accident results the boater could face felony charges. This can lead to the loss of boating privileges as well as fines and imprisonment.

What if a Boating Accident Leads to Injuries?

Those who are injured in a boating accident due to the boat driver’s reckless or negligent conduct can likely hold the boat owner responsible for the financial implications of the crash. In some cases, if the driver does not own the boat, you may be able to hold the boat owner liable as well.