Buffalo Boat Accident Lawyer

With its upstate lakes, marine coastline, an extensive canal system, and scenic rivers, New York boasts a myriad of enjoyable activities for hundreds of thousands of water lovers. Recreational boating accounts for a large part of the Empire State’s economy, with 435,213 registration in 2019 alone. In the same year, there were a total of 215 accidents with 15 fatalities and 219 injuries reported.

While these numbers might seem like a low percentage, it won’t be the same if one of them is you. Some of the leading causes of boating accidents are collisions, capsizing, fire, and falls or ejections. Personal watercraft and jet skis usually account for about 20% of the total accidents.

Many waterway accidents are avoidable with compliance to speed limits (implied and posted) and have common courtesy. Most of the fatalities shouldn’t have ended up in death, especially in the offseason, had the person worn an approved Personal Floatation Device. 2020 is essentially the first year of the Brianna Law that requires boater training to be completed in order for a person to operate a vessel. Such things are difficult to keep up to date with, and you’re probably yet to hear about them.

Our Buffalo boat accident lawyers understand everything to do with maritime laws, nuances, and rules and can get you the assistance you need. To schedule your free case evaluation, so that we can help you choose the correct options to pursue, get in touch with Cellino Law’s injury lawyers in Buffalo at (888) 888-8888.

What Do I Do After a Boating Accident?

Every boater has the responsibility of rendering all of the necessary aid possible to the other vessels that need assistance. In case you’re involved in an accident, you should stop and provide your name, address, and vehicle identification number. If the property damage involved is less than $1000, the parties can opt to work it out themselves. However, if there’s an injury, and if a person cannot be located, the local authorities should be contacted immediately. If there’s property damage exceeding $1,000, or there’s personal injury or death, then the party involved has to file an Accident Report Form with the New York State Park Department within a period of 5 days.

Be sure to consult with a lawyer immediately after the accident to make sure that you have your claim filed in ample time, or have your charge addressed promptly to keep your penalties at a minimum. Keep in mind that different charges have different time allowances for filing claims, and waiting for too long could have your case left out. Our lawyers can help you pursue a claim on your Boating Insurance.

What Damages Does New York Boat Insurance Cover?

The standard boating policy in Buffalo, New York, typically includes:

Bodily Injury

In case a person gets injured while on the boat, this policy will cover the medical and legal bills associated with the accident.

Property Damage

This essentially protects you in case you’re at fault in an accident that caused damage to another boat or property.


When you’re in an accident, this policy covers the cost of replacing or repairing your boat. The policy is usually optional, though a lender might require you to have it in case you’re leasing.

Schedule a free consultation with a Buffalo boat accident lawyer at Cellino Law.

Comprehensive Coverage

This pays for any repair costs when your boat gets damaged by something other than a collision. This may include storms, floods, theft, fire, and vandalism.

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorists

When an underinsured or uninsured motorist causes damage to you or your boat, the UIM coverage will protect you.

Medical Payment Coverage

When you’re involved in an accident, this cover will pay off any medical costs incurred, no matter who’s at fault. Some policies might even cover funeral costs.

Some of the extra coverages you may purchase include:

  • Fuel spill liability
  • Temporary repairs
  • Wreck removal
  • Freeze/ice coverage
  • Emergency service
  • Special fishing equipment
  • Boat rental liability and reimbursement
  • Fishing tournament reimbursement fee

Recent Boat Accidents

Raritan Bay, Staten Island – According to a news report by WABC, a boat carrying 5 people caught fire off Staten Island, sending three of its passengers to the hospital. The FDNY Marine units responded to a 23-foot pro-line that had caught fire in the middle of the Raritan Bay. The fire department reported that 5 people on board the boat jumped into the water and got rescued by a nearby good Samaritan boat. Three victims were taken to the hospital, while two others were treated on the scene.

Point Lookout, Long Island – One man died while another remained missing following an accident where a 22-foot Angler fishing boat got hit by multiple large waves near the coast of Long Island, which overturned the vessel and threw the four occupants overboard. The accident occurred in the Jones Beach Inlet. At the time, a 39-foot Cobalt speed boat was entering a creek while leaving the bay when it hit the bulkhead at speed. The speedboat’s driver was charged with boating while intoxicated.

Types of Boating Accidents Cellino Law Handles

DWB imposes heavy penalties and carries the risk of having your boating license suspended. At Cellino Law, we can help you reduce the penalties as much as possible. Any injuries that occur while on a ferry usually have different rules based on the ownership of the ferry service. As such, it’s important that we try to determine the incident details to ensure your complaint is filed on time. In case you’re charged with Negligent or Reckless Operation, or you’re a victim in cases where the other operator is charged with the same, we can help you file your case.

If you work aboard a vessel or as a seaman, commercial fisherman, crew member, etc., you’re protected by a comprehensive coverage for crew members that are injured or lose their lives through the negligence of their employer.

The Laws Regarding Drinking While Boating?

No one is allowed to operate any vessels on NYS waters while impaired or intoxicated either through the consumption of alcohol or drugs. In NY, a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is considered intoxication. The New York Law imposes hefty fines, imprisonment, and even suspension of operator licenses for any violators. When a violator refuses the submit to the BACK test, their operator privileges are automatically suspended pending a hearing.

For any driver under the age of 21, there’s zero tolerance for driving while impaired in NYS. In case an operator under the age of 21 is found intoxicated no matter the level, their operator’s license will be suspended or revoked automatically.

How is Fault Determined in a Boating Accident in NY?

Under the rules of Navigation, the burden of guilt for a boating accident won’t be automatically cast onto a large vessel operating for profit over a small pleasure craft. However, when it comes to determining fault in a collision, the ease of movement and the size of the water body might be taken into consideration.

Also taken into consideration is the fact that powerful, large, and fast vessels are obliged not to travel at speeds that generate displacement waves that can cause injury to other crafts, so long as they are operating normally. The larger vessel should cease normal operation until the smaller vessel passes outside the danger zone.

A boat being loaded into a lake.

There are many factors that come into play when determining the level of fault in a boating accident. The boating activity of the area, the weather, riders standing or seated, events in the area, boating training course, PFD, BWI, and others that influence the kind of actions taken and the outcomes.

The state and federal navigation laws are usually enforced by a number of different law enforcement agencies. In NYS, the US Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling as well as enforcing the federal laws in the joint jurisdictional waters. The State Police, State Park Police, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the local and county agencies usually work together to make sure state laws are complied with when in the water.

What Is Considered Negligent Operation Of A Boat?

The New York State Navigation Law Statute 45 governs Reckless or Negligent Operation, and it clearly stipulates the lawful operation of vessels in the NYS waters. It addresses the speed in which the vessels are required to follow in certain situations, and the flags vessels should use in non-moving situations, along with the penalties that the vessel operators can incur when they violate these situations.

Law enforcement might terminate the operation of any vessel that is found to be in a hazardous violation that may result in injury or accident. Reckless boat operation can be termed as a misdemeanor or a violation. This requires all operators to operate their vessel in a prudent and careful manner that doesn’t violate or interfere with another vessel’s ability to operate in a prudent or careful manner.

Ferry Accidents

Many New Yorkers rely on ferries to move back and forth from New Jersey and other places in the city. Since ferries are an integral part of the transportation network around New York for locals and visitors, it’s important to point out what happens in case of an accident. In case you’ve been injured while waiting to board a ferry or while on a ferry, it’s likely that you can recover compensation, though there’s a distinction between cases that involve public entities, like the New York City Department of Transportation, and privately operated or owned water taxi or ferry.

The first thing you want to do when filing a claim is determining what parties can be held liable for your injuries. In case you got in an accident on a ferry operated by any of the public entities, you only have 90 days from the date of the accident in order to file a Notice of Claim with the relevant department.

Some of the common causes of ferry accidents include:

  • Operator error
  • Mechanical malfunctions
  • Excessive speeds
  • Operating the ferry while intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Defective equipment
  • Overcrowding or overloading
  • Inadequate safety or seating equipment

Jet Ski Accidents

Personal watercraft like Jet Skis have provided tremendous fun on the waterways for nearly a decade. These vessels are extremely fast and easy to maneuver around. However, while jet skis can be so much fun, they can be really dangerous while in the hands of a careless, inexperienced, and/or intoxicated driver. A jet ski driver is more likely to get hurt than any other watercraft operator. Moreover, the injuries that can be sustained in a Jet Ski collision or accident can be much more severe. Examples of these injuries include drowning, death, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, amputations, disfigurements, broken bones, head injuries, and soft tissue injuries.

Legal Requirements for Personal Watercrafts In New York

Required equipment for operators of boats include:

  • Life jacket (to be worn by all persons
  • Visual Distress Signal
  • Engine Cut-off Lanyard
  • Fire Extinguisher (on any waters under the USCG jurisdiction)
  • Backfire Flame Arrestor
  • Sound producing Device
  • Recommended Equipment
  • Eyewear – sunglasses or goggles
  • Footwear
  • Gloves
  • Wet Suit

Operating Restrictions

Restrictions on who can operate a watercraft in Buffalo, New York, include:

  • The operator should have completed a course on boating safety
  • The minimum age of operator is 14
  • Operation should be between sunrise and sunset
  • Types of Reckless Operations
  • Jumping the wake of another vessel
  • Weaving through congested traffic
  • Playing chicken
  • PWCs are prohibited within 500 feet of bathing, or swim/beach area

An attorney filing a boat accident claim for a client in Buffalo.

Renting Personal Watercrafts

The requirements to rent a boat in New York are:

  • The person must be 16 years of age and above
  • The person should show ID and proof of age
  • The rental operator should show the person the renter use of safety equipment and the correct operating procedures
  • The renter must show proof of completing an approved boating safety course

Behaviors to Avoid While Operating PWCs

While these behaviors aren’t illegal, they do tend to contribute to the negative image of personal watercraft:

  • Operating in packs or groups
  • Operating in one location continuously
  • Operating too close to fishermen
  • Operating to close to docks, shore, or marinas
  • Operating around launching areas
  • Disturbing wildlife or operating close to environmentally sensitive areas
  • Starting too early
  • Forcing large crafts to maneuver excessively or unnecessarily, especially commercial vessels

Tips for Boating Safety

Following these tips when a passenger or operating a boat can help keep you safe from an accident:

  • Always check the weather forecast, and avoid going out in case severe weather is forecasted. In case there’s a sudden shift in the wind or you notice choppy water and lightning flashes, this could mean a storm is developing. When this happens, head for the shore immediately because storms can develop rather quickly in the water.
  • Store your essential items in a waterproof bag or pouch
  • Learn how to swim. One of the best ways to stay safe in and around water is knowing how to swim.
  • Ensure that someone knows your intended itinerary. Don’t forget to check the fuel and engine of your boat before leaving.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or take other drugs. Alcohol is responsible for about 50% of all fatalities caused in the waterways.
  • Enroll in a boating course.
  • Only use approved PFDs.

How Can a Boat Accident Lawyer Help My Claim?

In case you were involved in a boating accident and you’re not sure of what to do, you should schedule a free consultation with our lawyers. We have a team of legal professionals who are always ready to assist you. Our firm will provide you with a free initial consultation to give you the legal advice you need for your case. With it, you will have an ample chance to ask any questions or address any concerns you might have with one of our top lawyers regarding your case, and you can learn more about the options available to you.

Talk to our top Buffalo boating accident attorneys at Cellino Law so that we can start working on your case. All our boating accident lawyers are experienced and skilled, and they can help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Get in touch with us today and schedule your free consultation.

Contact A Buffalo Boat Accident Lawyer At Cellino Law Today

Our lawyers in Buffalo understand the maritime laws, nuances, and rules, and can work to get you the help you need. Get in touch with us at (888) 888-8888 for a free case evaluation and advice on your best course of action.



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