Even an idyllic setting of sun, sand and water is not immune to accidents and injuries – the kind that occur all too often on Ontario’s roads. And while many of the same laws apply equally to automobiles and boats, activity on the water carries some very specific guidelines and can be affected by some very unique circumstances.
Because boating is so closely associated with recreation and leisure, operators often take a relaxed attitude about their responsibilities. That can lead to alcohol consumption on or prior to boarding the boat or marine craft – which would be unthinkable for most motorists – or simply careless boating.
Despite Ontario’s tough boating-and-drinking laws, alcohol consumption remains a strong concern on the province’s many waterways. If alcohol or other negligence is determined to be a factor in a personal injury, the accident victim – another boater, a swimmer, a canoeist – may wish to file a tort action to recover damages for claims like loss of future income and pain and suffering.
The federal government made a change to boating certification in 2010, requiring anyone operating a pleasure craft equipped with 10 or more horsepower to acquire a special licence. The Pleasure Craft Licence, listed under the Canadian Shipping Act, was designed to educate boaters – specifically those in charge of a potentially dangerous amount of horsepower – about their responsibilities and keep inexperienced operators off the water.
When an unlicensed and untrained person operates a powerful boat and causes an accident, that lack of preparedness can be seen as a major factor. But recreating the scene of a boating accident and establishing liability or negligence requires a specific set of skills and evidence. Fewer witnesses –especially in secluded bays – fewer pieces of evidence and a set of operating rules that differs from stop signs and stoplights, presents a unique investigative challenge. If you or loved one has been involved in a boating accident and suffered personal injury or death, contact Futerman Partners LLP, who have been handling boating and personal water-craft accidents for over 30 years.