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Boating Accidents

Boating AccidentsNew York (NY) Attorney Helping Boating Accident Victims in Buffalo, Rochester and on Long Island

Boating accidents often occur because of negligence and can result in serious and deadly injuries. Boating accidents can occur on a small boat or with large cruise ships, navy vessels, or maritime.

A boating accident is always frightening no matter what the circumstances.  They are especially dangerous since the threat of drowning exists. When a boating injury accident occurs, a thorough investigation and evaluation of its causes by an experienced legal team is the best way to proceed.

Cellino & Barnes is well versed in maritime law, as we have offices in close proximity to many local waterways, including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River, Chautauqua Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake and many of the Finger Lakes.  Cellino & Barnes has attorneys who have an excellent understanding of personal injury law as well as Maritime and Admiralty law and the Jones Act.

If you or a loved one has suffered a boating injury or you have a question that has not been answered, call Cellino & Barnes now at 1-(800) 888-8888 or contact us.

Learn more about boating accidents…

Common Causes

Collisions are the most common cause of serious injury and death in boating accidents. Other injuries are slip and falls, reckless driving, drunk driving, boat malfunctions and inexperienced watercraft operators.

In addition to boating, other water sports such as swimming, water skiing, jet skiing and fishing are extremely popular.  Unfortunately, there is potential for danger in these activities, especially when someone is inexperienced or intoxicated.

Today there are over one million personal watercraft vessels in use.  On average, approximately 5,000 accidents occur each year resulting in numerous injuries and even death.

Safety Tips

Listed below are some safety tips.  We hope you will follow these when heading out on our local waterways.

  • Before leaving your home to enjoy a day out of the boat, check the weather forecast.  Also, once out, if you notice a sudden shift in the wind or see lightning flashes and choppy water, this can mean a storm is developing.  If this happens, you should head for shore immediately as storms can develop very quickly.
  • Certain items are essential, such as a flashlight (extra batteries), matches, a map of the waterway, flares, suntan lotion, first aid kit, and extra sunglasses. Those items sensitive to water should be placed in a watertight pouch or a container that floats.
  • Make sure someone knows where you’re going, who is with you, and how long you’ll be away.
    Be sure to check your boat before leaving, such as the engine and fuel supply before leaving.
  • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.  Alcohol use causes approximately 50% of all fatalities on our waterways.
  • Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets for yourself and your passengers when boating and fishing.
  • Find a boating course in your area (Red Cross, U.S. Power Squadron, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Sailing, etc) — these courses teach about navigation rules, emergency procedures and the effects of wind, water conditions, and weather.

The Jones Act

Jones Act Accidents | Rochester | Long Island | Manhattan | Buffalo

If you were employed to work aboard a vessel as a seaman, crewmember, or commercial fisherman, you are protected by a federal maritime law called the Jones Act, 46 USC 688. The Jones Act provides comprehensive coverage for crewmembers who are injured or die through the negligence of their employer.

Our attorneys are known for their perseverance and dedication in helping our clients obtain the results they deserve.  Our firm understands the needs of our clients and we work with the best experts in the country to help obtain our objective.

By choosing Cellino and Barnes, you will choose a firm with a solid reputation and dedication to their clients, as well as the resources necessary to take on powerful defendants.

Cellino and Barnes is an experienced personal injury law firm. Our success and professionalism, both in and out of the courtroom, can be seen in our results.

Jet Ski Accidents

For nearly a decade, jet ski’s have provided tremendous fun on waterways.  Jet Ski’s are extremely fast and easy to maneuver.

Although jet skis can provide hours of fun, they can be extremely dangerous in the hands of a negligent, inexperienced, and/or intoxicated driver. A Jet Skier is more likely to get hurt than any other type of watercraft. The injuries sustained in a Jet Ski accident or collision can be severe. Some of these injuries include drowning, death, carbon monoxide poisoning, burns, amputations, hypothermia, head injuries, disfigurement, or situations where someone is ejected from the Jet Ski, which can cause a soft tissue injury or broken bones.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard has compiled boating statistics for 2004.

They have asked users of their report to be aware of many facts that may affect the results of analysis of accident report data:

  • The report does not include every accident involving a recreational vessel.  Some accidents are not in the system because they may not be required to be reported.  Many accidents are not reported because boaters are not aware of the accident reporting regulations or fail to comply with the regulations.  It is believed, however, that nearly all fatal recreational boating accidents are included in this report.
  • Federal regulations do not require the reporting of accidents on private waters where States have no jurisdiction.  Reports of accidents on such waters are included in this report when received by the Coast Guard if they satisfy the other requirements for inclusion.
  • Non-fatal accident statistics are based strictly on the number of accidents reported, thus the actual number of boating accidents is presumed to be much greater

Top Ten Contributing Factors

  1. Careless/Reckless Operation  (570 accidents – 43 fatalities)
  2. Operator Inattention   (562 accidents – 55 fatalities)
  3. Operator Inexperience   (406 accidents – 42 fatalities)
  4. Excessive Speed   (401 accidents – 39 fatalities)
  5. Hazardous Waters   (312 accidents – 57 fatalities)
  6. Alcohol Use    (296 accidents – 109 fatalities)
  7. Passenger/Skier Behavior  (291 accidents – 26 fatalities)
  8. Machinery System Failure  (285 accidents – 21 fatalities)
  9. No Proper Lookout   (271 accidents – 11 fatalities)
  10. Rules of the Road Violation  (188 accidents – 13 fatalities)

Top Five Accident Types

  1. Collision with Vessel  (1,479 accidents – 68 fatalities)
  2. Collision with Fixed Object (525 accidents – 46 fatalities)
  3. Falls Overboard   (488 accidents – 199 fatalities)
  4. Capsizing    (393 accidents – 184 fatalities)
  5. Skier Mishap   (380 accidents – 7 fatalities)

Causes of Death

  1. Drowning    (484 fatalities)
  2. Trauma     (114 fatalities)
  3. Other     (32 fatalities)
  4. Hypothermia    (10 fatalities)
  5. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning  (2 fatalities)
  6. Unknown    (34 unknown)

General Boating Statistics

  • In 2004, there were approximately 12,781,476 registered recreational boats.  Of which, 4,904 boating accidents were reported, resulting in 676 fatalities, 3,363 injuries and approximately $35,038,306 in property damage.
  • Approximately 70% of all fatal boating accident victims drowned (484 out of 676).  Approximately 90% of the victims who drowned were not wearing life jackets.  Approximately 431 live could have been saved last year if boaters had worn their lifejackets.
  • Alcohol was involved in approximately 1/3 of all boating fatalities.


Client Thanks

I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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