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Common Causes of Boating Accidents — When to Report a Boating Accident

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Common Causes of Boating Accidents — When to Report a Boating Accident 

Many Ontarians love boating and spending time on the water. In fact, more than 16 million Canadians hit the water every year. Many boaters, however, do not understand the risks that boating presents. Choppy water, operator inexperience, and reckless operation are just a few factors that increase the likelihood of an accident. Some of the most common causes of boating accidents include: 

  • Operator Inexperience: A boat can be incredibly difficult to operate and control, especially in inclement weather. If a boat operator does not have the proper skills or experience, this can lead to a severe accident.  
  • Excessive Speed: It is crucial that all boats operate at a safe speed. Regardless of how experienced an operator is, excessive speed can cause the driver to lose control of the boat and cause an accident. Moreover, collisions that occur at high speeds are much more severe.   
  • Driving under the Influence: Similar to motor vehicle accidents, alcohol and other substances can play a role in boating accidents. Driving under the influence can significantly impair one’s driving abilities and reaction time — this can lead to accidents that may result in severe injury or death.  
  • Poor Weather Conditions: High winds, choppy water, and heavy rain can severely impact boating conditions. Boating accidents are significantly more likely in hazardous weather conditions.  
  • Reckless Driving: Speeding, attempting “tricks” on the water, or making sharp turns can be incredibly dangerous. Always follow the necessary speed and safety rules to avoid an accident.  

 If you have been involved in a boating accident, you may be wondering what your next steps should be, as well as when you are required to report a boating accident. It is imperative that you report the accident to the police immediately after it occurs if the accident resulted in death, an injury that requires hospitalization, or property damage exceeding $5,000. An accident must be reported to the Ministry of Transportation within 14 days of the accident if it resulted in property damage exceeding $2,500 or caused injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid but not hospitalization.  

 Boating laws can be quite complex when it comes to personal injury. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act applies to motorized boats to some extent. This act imposes a legal duty of care on owners and operators of watercraft to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of passengers. In addition, The Marine Liability Act governs the limitations of liability for the owner and operator of a boat for personal injuries.  

 If you’ve been injured in a boating accident as a result of an operator’s negligence, our team of personal injury lawyers can guide you through each step of the way and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. 


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