Nevada offers many opportunities to engage in different types of water sports with its many lakes and rivers. As with any sport, there are certain risks each individual takes when they engage in boating and jet skiing. There are several laws and regulations in the state of Nevada regarding proper behavior on the water. Not everyone obeys the laws, and their negligence may result in injury to other parties. Even when everyone follows the law to the exact point, some accidents are unforeseeable, and when it occurs, it’s crucial you contact a boating accident attorney in Las Vegas Nevada.

The Three Most Common Water Incidents in Las Vegas

  • Boating Accident
  • BUI
  • Drowning

The term “boating accident” refers to a variety of incidents that may occur on the water and include vessels that are motorized or non-motorized as well as a range in size of watercraft. In 2016, there were over 4000 boating accidents resulting in nearly 3000 injuries and over 700 deaths.

Boating Accident Can Occur On These Vessels

  • Open motorboats
  • Personal water vessels
  • Cabin motorboats
  • Canoes or kayaks
  • Pontoon boats

Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Generally people understand how serious driving under the influence is and find it socially unacceptable. The same people that may scold someone else for joking about it may be guilty of boating under the influence. Everyone wants to relax while spending time on the water. The party atmosphere combined with the lack of street signs and a strict requirement to stay in your lane makes people feel it is more acceptable to drink and drive a boat. This is not true at all! It is illegal to operate a boat with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08, just as when an individual is behind the wheel of a car. In addition to a BUI charge, an individual found to be operating a boat while drinking may face civil penalties for any injuries or accidents they are involved in. If drinking while operating a boat has caused an accident, make sure to speak to a boating accident attorney in Las Vegas Nevada for legal help.

Boating Regulations

Besides being prohibited from operating a boat while consuming alcohol, there are many other regulations the Nevada Department of Wildlife is responsible for enforcing. These regulations are in place to increase the safety of spending time in the water and include:

  • Children under 13 must wear lifejackets at all times.
  • Anyone born after 1982 must complete a boating education course to be permitted to operate a boat with more than 15 horsepower.
  • Water vessels may not be operated by individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • On orange flag must be used to indicate when a skier is “down.” Operation of a water vessel within 100 feet of an orange flag is prohibited.
  • Water vessels must obey posted speed limits.
  • It is illegal to create a wake in a no-wake zone.
  • It is illegal to operate a water vessel when the weather conditions are deemed “dangerous.”

Personal Watercraft Accidents

Personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as a vessel used on the water, less than 13 feet long, powered by a motor and jet pump in which the operator is located outside the confines of a hull. The most common personal watercrafts are jet skis and waverunners.

PWCs are small, very agile, quick, and powerful vessels in which the rider and operator is exposed. This is a very dangerous combination. They are not as visible as a boat and are very easy to ride recklessly given their maneuverability and speed. Inexperienced individuals may treat these watercraft more like toys that the powerful vessels they are.

PWC Operated Under Influence of Alcohol

As discussed above, consuming alcohol is quite common when engaging in water activities. When individuals operate a PWC while under the influence, their capacity to respect the power and vulnerability of a PWC is inhibited. This makes it much more likely for the PWC to be operated recklessly, putting the operator, rider, and bystanders in danger. Always put the safety of yourself and others in consideration when operating these types of vessels but if you have been involved in an accident, consult an accident lawyer in Las Vegas Nevada.

The following precautions may be taken when operating or riding a PWC in order to increase safety:

  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Refrain from wearing shoes or clothes made of absorbent material – it increases the likelihood of drowning
  • Do not drink or use drugs when operating a PWC
  • Pay attention to your surroundings – boats may not see a PWC as easily as a PWC can see a boat. Even if it is your right of way, be aware of the behavior of nearby watercraft.
  • Protect yourself from the sun and stay dehydrated. Neglecting to do so can increase fatigue and inhibit reactive thinking.

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a boating or jet ski accident, it is important to seek advice from an experienced and motivated accident lawyer in Las Vegas Nevada. Having someone who understands the process review your case can help you determine whether you are able to seek compensation from the responsible party.

Boating Accident Attorney in Las Vegas Nevada

With over 15 years of experience handling personal injury cases of all sorts, you can ensure the lawyers at Harris & Harris have the resources, dedication and expertise to represent you. If you have been injured in any type of boating accident, give us a call to speak to an accident attorney in Las Vegas Nevada on (702) 384-1414 or toll free on 1800 393-2350. You can also fill out our online contact form here.