Boating Accidents and Water Hazards

When most people go boating in the busy waters off Long Island, they look forward to a leisurely time, basking in the sunshine and floating on the waves. But what many boaters fail to consider is that boating can be, and often is, as dangerous as speeding through the streets of downtown Manhattan during rush hour. In 2015 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,000 boating accidents. As a result, there were more than 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and a staggering $40 million dollars in property damages. What many people also fail to consider is that their rights are protected in the water in much the same way they are protected on dry land, and we’re here to help.

Contact Our New York Boating Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been in an accident on the water and have suffered injury or property damage, contact the New York boat accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers, PC as soon as possible. We have the experience and resources to protect you and your property and to make sure you have the best opportunity to receive the compensation to which you are entitled. We handle all types of personal injury from our offices in and around New York City and are members of the Injured Workers’ Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice. We’ll evaluate your claim for free, and based on the merits of the claim will advise whether to move forward. We receive no payment until your case is successfully settled.

Because of statute of limitation laws in New York, it is important to waste no time contacting us.


There are too many causes for boating accidents resulting in fatalities to list them all, but the most common are:

  • Alcohol – Alcohol impairs judgment and often leads to bad decisions, including reckless behavior.
  • Hazardous Water – Water conditions can create situations in which even the most careful boaters have no control. It is important to pay attention to warnings and hazards.
  • Operator Inexperience – What may be safe for an experienced boater often isn’t for a new one. Boaters should know their limitations by attending safety classes, learning from more experienced boaters and knowing their local waters.
  • Operator Inattention – Like anything else, a lack of attention may lead to terrible consequences, especially on the water.
  • Excessive Speed – The faster the speed, the harder a craft is to control, and excessive speed can lead to dangerous consequences.

Many of these accidents are based on operator error. To avoid them, Kaplan Law, PC recommends taking safety courses sponsored by the National Association of State Boating Laws and following boating rules established by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Accident Statistics

Even if every safety precaution has been taken, nothing can take into account the actions of other boaters. There is no way to truly prepare for the erratic behavior some people exhibit on the water. When this turns into an accident, the numbers can be grim. In 2015:

  • 76 percent of boating fatalities were from drowning.
  • More than 70 percent of boating fatalities occurred from boaters with no safety training.
  • There were 158 instances of at least one person being struck by a propeller, resulting in 150 injuries and 27 deaths.
  • The top five contributing factors in boating accidents were operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed.
  • The highest fatality rates occurred in: open motorboats (46 percent), kayaks (12 percent) and canoes (11 percent).

Canoeing and Kayaking

Because of the abundance of waterways, New York is a natural destination for boaters of all types. However, some places are better suited for different types of vessels than others. Because of heavy traffic, some waterways are better suited for motorboats, while others are more safe for smaller boats, including canoes and kayaks.

Canoeing and kayaking has grown in popularity in the New York City area. For example, in Queens, the Long Island City Boathouse offers excursions into Hallets Cove, while the Flushing Meadows Corona Park is also a popular destination for canoeing. Other favorite spots for paddling are the Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island, the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek in Brooklyn, Hunts Point Riverside Park or the Harlem River in the Bronx, and the Hudson River in Manhattan.

But while canoeing and kayaking can be great fun for friends and families, they are not without risks of injury. Shoulder injuries are common among those who like to paddle out on the open water, especially for those new to the activity. And, as is the case with all vessels, everyone who takes to the water in canoes and kayaks must wear a lifejacket to reduce the likelihood of drowning injuries.

To-Do List After a Boating Accident

No matter what kind of boat you’re in, there are actions you must take to protect yourself after any type of boating accident:

  • Report the accident to the United States Coast Guard.
  • Obtain pictures to preserve as much evidence as possible.
  • Seek medical attention after any injury.
  • Understand that the insurance company has different priorities than you do.
  • Hire an experienced attorney who will complete all filings to protect your rights and ensure that you will receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact New York Boating Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has suffered a boating accident due to the negligence of another person, the New York boating accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC are here to help. We can help you determine the full extent of your damages so you can receive compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you. The consultation is free, and we receive no payment unless and until we win your case.

Kaplan Lawyers PC is a New York City personal injury law firm that helps victims of personal injury and their families in Bronx, Queens, and Kings Counties, as well as all of New York City. If you have been involved in a boating accident and believe you have a potential claim, call Kaplan Lawyers PC in the City at (212) 563-1900 or on Long Island at (516) 399-2364.

Frequently Asked Questions for Boat Accident Cases

  • Do I need an attorney to handle my claim?

    The insurance company employs an army of attorneys, claims specialists, and experts to win the case, so in order to get the compensation that you are entitled to, you will need to hire an attorney that specializes in this type of law. Our legal team has decades of experience and a proven track record of maximizing settlements, and we are in the best position to guarantee that you get everything that you are entitled to. Contact us at (516) 399-2364 or online for a free consultation.

  • How long do I have to bring a claim?

    The statute of limitations (or time in which a claim must be brought from the date of the accident) is 3 years for a personal injury claim. If a claim is being brought for wrongful death, the claim must be brought within 2 years from the date of death. If the claim is being brought against a municipality, the time to bring a claim is significantly shorter, depending on who the claim is against, so you should consult with an attorney immediately.

  • Do I have to pay any legal fees if I lose my case?

    Our attorneys work on a contingency fee, which states that if you don’t win your case, we don’t get paid.

  • How much is my case worth?

    If any attorney tells you that they know how much your case is worth before reviewing all of the documentation then they are lying or incompetent. However, our legal team has decades of experience and will maximize the value of your case.

  • How long will it take to settle my case?

    Every case is different but our legal team utilizes the most advanced technology and aggressive legal strategy to expedite our client’s cases, generally resolving cases years faster than any other firm.

  • How will my medical bills get paid?

    Initially your medical bills will be submitted to the insurance company for the boat owner. However, if the boat owner did not purchase insurance to cover medical bills or if your bills exceed the coverage, your medical bills will be paid by your private health insurance. If you do not have health insurance your medical bills will be submitted as an item of special damages as part of your claim against the liable party.

  • What should I do after a boating accident?

    First the accident should be reported to the United States Coast Guard and, if possible, pictures should be taken of the boat and accident scene. You should then seek immediate medical attention.

  • Is the driver of the boat that caused the accident responsible to pay for my damages?

    Boating rules require safe operation and proper safety equipment, and the operator of a boat that fails to follow these rules would be held liable.


  • Failure to report the accident to the United States Coast Guard
  • Failure to obtain pictures to preserve as much evidence as possible
  • Assuming you will feel better and not seeking medical attention
  • Believing that the Insurance Company will deal with you fairly
  • Not hiring an experienced attorney who will complete all filings to protect your rights and ensure that you will receive the compensation that you deserve

Attorney Jared S. Kaplan

Attorney Jared S. Kaplan has focused his career on advancing his legal knowledge though the day to day practice of law. Jared is a partner in the law firm of Kaplan Lawyers PC in Syosset, New York and has been a practicing attorney for nearly 20 years. His career started in litigation, so Jared is aware of the pitfalls in litigation and uses that knowledge in the representation of his clients in complex matters. [ Attorney Bio ]

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