June 21st, 2012 - by DKRPA
One of the rules set forth by the Coast Guard when you operate a vessel is to “maintain a proper lookout.” What this means is that the pilot of the boat needs to be alert while operating the vessel, always looking for possible dangers or potential obstacles that could wreck the boat and put anyone onboard in danger.
When the pilot fails to maintain proper lookout, they can be faulted for any resulting boat accident — in addition to being liable for any injuries suffered during the crash. Such a situation presently itself in Florida recently, when nine people were spilled overboard after the pilot hit a jetty that likely should have been recognized.
The 21-foot boat was crossing underneath an overpass in Clearwater, Florida when it hit the jetty, reportedly travelling at an unknown but “high” rate of speed, in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 27. While the pilot passed a field sobriety test, he was cited for failing to maintain a proper lookout.
Considering the time of the boat accident (it was around 3 AM) and the nature of the vessel (the source article called the boat a “pleasure craft”), it is possible the pilot was distracted or simply not alert enough to focus on the job at hand — safely operating the boat while keeping an eye out for dangerous situations.
Three of the nine passengers were dealt “non-life threatening” injuries, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t serious. Everything is more difficult when you are seriously hurt. The everyday things that come naturally to you are suddenly anything but routine.
Walking up and down stairs; lifting objects at work; getting ready for the day — all can be affected by a serious injury. Personal injury suits are not simply a “cash grab” by the plaintiff: they are dealing with serious issues that could plague them for a long time, if not permanently.
Source: Clearwater Patch, “Nine Survive Early Morning Boat Crash,” Katie Dolac, May 27, 2012