California has its own set of state maritime laws in addition to federal and local laws. These rules aim to prevent accidents and protect people who sustain injuries on the water. Below is a short overview of California boating accident law. If you were injured, consulting with an experienced maritime lawyer is critical to understanding the facts of your unique case.
When sharing the waterway with swimmers or other vessels, it’s important to communicate any moves you plan to make. Boaters communicate with others through the sounds and alerts specified under the law. Some of these rules are below.
When two motorized boats are traveling in the same direction and the driver of one boat decides to pass the other, he or she must communicate appropriately with the other boat. The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways has a guide that outlines the horn or whistle blasts that are appropriate in various scenarios.
People operating a watercraft must signal when navigating in or near an area with fog or restricted visibility. In response, those who hear the signal should determine if their boat can stay on course or if there is a danger of colliding with the other vessel. It’s important to navigate with extreme caution until the chance of danger has passed.
Sharing Narrow Channels
Some vessels, such as deep-draft liners and freighters, can only navigate in narrow channels. Other boaters should never impede on the safe passage of these vessels. When possible, boats should keep to the right side of a narrow channel. It’s also important to know that rules regarding anchor lights are different in these areas.
These are just snapshots of the rules for boating in the State of California and in San Diego specifically. Be sure to review all applicable state rules and regulations before traveling on California waterways.
There are many federal maritime laws, some of which are specifically in place to protect those who are injured. For example, injured maritime workers often have protections under the Jones Act and entitlement to certain benefits.
If you or a family member sustained injuries on a California waterway, getting legal help from an experienced lawyer is critical. After seeking appropriate medical attention, contact an experienced California maritime lawyer. Depending on the jurisdiction of your case, there may be a time limit to seek compensation for medical bills and other losses. We welcome you to call us at (619) 238-1811 for a confidential consultation.