The lakes in Ontario are plentiful for boating, making pleasure craft vessels a highlight of many vacations with family and friends. Whether you are behind the wheel, simply enjoying the sights, or are riding a tube or wakeboard, boating can be fun, relaxing and enjoyable for your entire group.
Fortunately, boating fatalities hit a 10-year low in Ontario at the end of 2014, according to the Ontario Provincial Police, but there are still plenty of boating accident risks. Most boating accident deaths result from victims’ failure to wear a life jacket or personal floatation device, which significantly increases survivability should a mishap occur. Boats can sink in a few minutes, which increases the risk of fatalities, as does the reflex action of taking a deep breath when being exposed to cold water.
Accidents can happen with boats at any time, as the driver must keep on the lookout for other boaters that could come from any direction and for rocks, shallow areas, and swimmers who are up ahead. When accidents occur, water-related injuries usually fall into one of the following categories: grounding, capsizing, sinking, flooding, swamping, falls within or overboard a vessel, persons ejected from a vessel, mishaps from a towable device (e.g. tube or wakeboard) or falling for a jet ski, collisions with another vessel or object, striking a submerged object, fire, explosion, electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning, and casualties while swimming. Drinking alcohol while boating continues to be a factor in many accidents, especially when out boating with friends. When a person is thrown from a jet ski or other watercraft at a high speed, head injuries, broken wrists, spinal cord injuries, fractured ankles, and burns from ignited fuel are surprisingly common.
The Marine Liability Act requires that each boater show proof of competency to operate a pleasure craft in Canada by obtaining a boating license and that each motorized boat be registered. Anyone driving a boat without proof of competency (e.g. a Pleasure Craft Operators Card) risks a $250 fine and may void any insurance policy in place. The BOATsmart! course and test needed for the license are approved by Transport Canada.
Boat insurance is optional in Ontario, and so not every boat owner takes out a separate marine policy or obtains some form of liability insurance. Often a boat owner or operator has a boat insurance extension on his or her home insurance policy or otherwise relies on basic home insurance liability provisions.
The need to be legally protected in the event of an accident cannot be overstated. At Littlejohn Barristers in Barrie, a boating accident lawyer will assess your case at your free initial consultation. He or she will advise you about the laws that apply to your accident situation and, if hired, will work to ensure that you reach the best legal outcome possible. In Barrie, our lawyers cover all legal fees in advance; there are no fees to pay whatsoever unless we are successful in reaching a judgment or a settlement for you. Contact our Barrie-based law firm at Littlejohn Barristers as soon as possible after your boating accident at 705‑725‑7355.
For your convenience, we’re located just minutes from the County Courthouse. Call Littlejohn Barristers today at 705‑725‑7355 to find out how we can help you in your fight for justice. Our office is in Barrie, but our lawyers are proud to serve Midland, Collingwood, Orillia and surrounding Ontario areas.