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Boating accidents more likely in certain situations

Many Alabama readers are familiar with the phrase, "Whatever floats your boat," with regard to making personal choices in life. The phrase especially applies to situations where someone may not agree with another person's decision but acquiesces to the idea that he or she has the right to make the decision in the first place, whether anyone supports it, or not. The whatever-floats-your-boat attitude doesn't work so well when it comes to boating on Alabama waterways, however; lack of knowledge and training can increase the risk of boating accidents.

There are strict rules and regulations regarding operation of water vessels in this state. A person cannot simply get an inkling to drive a boat and take off on the water without knowing the laws. For instance, no person under age 12 can drive a boat for any reason. In fact, only those age 14 and beyond who possess valid boating licenses may operate boats alone.

If a boat captain intends on towing a water skier or inner-tube rider, there has to be another person in the boat aside from the operator. The person must communicate the status of the skier and/or rider at all times. There are also laws about how many passengers and how much cargo various vessels may contain.

Any lack of regard for the law makes boating accidents a real possibility. If a boat owner's or operator's negligence causes injury to a passenger, the injured person may file a lawsuit in an Alabama civil court to seek compensation for damages. This is also true in many commercial vessel situations, not just private boats. A personal injury attorney can clarify the laws that govern such matters and provide appropriate counsel.

Source: outdooralabama.com, "Boating Rules and Regulations", Accessed on July 20, 2017

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