Boating Accidents in CT: Get the Compensation You Deserve

boating accidents, Cramer & Anderson, LLP

Boating on Connecticut ponds, lakes, rivers, and Long Island Sound is a hallmark of a summer recreation season that now stretches from spring into autumn – and unfortunately that also means boating accidents.

The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2023 recreational boating statistics May 28, showing that fatalities nationwide fell by 11.3 percent to 564 from 636 in 2022, overall incidents decreased by 4.9 percent from 4,040 to 3,844, and non-fatal injuries declined by 4.3 percent from 2,222 to 2,126.

The fatality rate was 4.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, a 9.3 percent decrease from last year’s rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

While fatalities and overall incidents also decreased in Connecticut, our state still saw 28 reportable boating accidents in 2023, five of them fatal, resulting in six deaths and 20 injuries. 

With 89,172 registered recreational boats, that gave Connecticut a fatality rate of 6.7 –  higher than all other Atlantic Coast states except Massachusetts at 7.0. From 2019 through 2023, there have been 199 reportable boating accidents in Connecticut, 24 of them fatal, involving 27 deaths.

If you or a family member has been injured in a boating accident, reach out to the Personal Injury team at Cramer & Anderson, LLP for a free consultation to discuss pursuing legal action. 

The firm’s highly experienced injury attorneys leave no stone unturned in fighting for the compensation clients deserve.

Car Accident Personal Injury Attorney Ryan Henry Cramer & AndersonContact Senior Partner Ryan Henry to discuss your boating accident, review your legal options, and take the optimal next steps. Attorney Henry has represented numerous boating accident victims and has also practiced in the Federal Courts where maritime jurisdiction was raised.

Those injured in boating accidents can file a lawsuit against any parties or entities responsible, or partially responsible, for the accident or circumstances that contributed to it. 

This could be the operator of the vessel an injured passenger was in, the operator of another vessel involved in the accident or bearing responsibility for causing it – or individuals, entities, and companies liable for dangerous circumstances or faulty equipment that can be shown to have contributed to causing the accident. 

Additionally, anyone who suffered property damage as the result of a boating accident can file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the person, persons, or entities found to be at fault. The 28 Connecticut boating accidents in 2023 cited in the Coast Guard report caused $975,705.79 in property damage.

Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that safety comes first on the water, and all boaters and passengers on boats must follow Connecticut boating laws and proper safety procedures.

“Boaters should remain vigilant on the water as most incidents occur when you might least expect them – in good visibility, calm waters and little wind,” Capt. Amy Beach, Inspections and Compliance director, said in the Coast Guard news release announcing the 2023 U.S. boating statistics. “The most frequent events involve collisions with other vessels, objects or groundings, which is why it is so important to keep a proper lookout, navigate at a safe speed, adhere to navigation rules and obey navigation aids.”

According to the Coast Guard, deaths occurred predominantly on vessels operated by individuals who had not received boating safety instruction, accounting for 75 percent of fatalities. Open motorboats, personal watercraft and cabin motorboats were the vessel types most involved in reported incidents, the Coast Guard said.

Drowning accounted for 75 percent of deaths, with 87 percent of those victims not wearing life jackets, the Coast Guard noted, reminding boaters to wear serviceable, properly sized and correctly fastened life jackets.

“The most frequent event in fatal incidents involved events where people ended up in the water. A fall overboard, capsizing and cases where a person voluntarily departed a vessel accounted for over half of fatal incidents,” Captain Beach said.

The data in the Coast Guard report is based on incidents that resulted in at least one of the following criteria: death, disappearance, injury that required medical treatment beyond first aid, damages to the vessel(s) or other property that equaled or exceeded $2,000, or a loss of vessel.

Connecticut DEEP Regulations on Reporting Boating Accidents

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) page on reporting boating accidents explains that all operators of vessels involved in an accident must remain at the scene and assist any other vessel or person involved in the accident if it is possible to do so without endangering their own vessel or the people aboard. 

The operator must also give his/her name, address and vessel identification number to the other boat operator(s) or owner of the damaged property, the DEEP says, going on to explain:

The operator of a vessel involved in a boating accident which results in any of the circumstances noted below shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency and, within 48 hours after the accident, report the matter in writing on a form provided by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Boating Division:

    • The death of any person from whatever cause.

    • The disappearance of any person from on board.

    • The injury of any person sufficient to require medical attention beyond simple first aid.

    • Any accident in which the total damages to all property affected is in excess of $500 must be reported by the operator within 5 days after the accident on forms provided by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Boating Division.

The operator of the boat must make out the report. If for any reason the operator cannot make out the report, the owner or survivor of the accident should initiate the report. (Operators are required to report, even if a law enforcement officer has also filed a report.) For forms or answers to questions, contact the Boating Division at 860-434-8638, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to p.m.

About Cramer & Anderson

Cramer & Anderson provides sophisticated legal services, close to home, with regional offices in New Milford, Litchfield, Danbury, and Ridgefield. For more information, see the firm’s website or call the flagship office in New Milford at (860) 355-2631

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