South Texas offers a lot of great boating opportunities, from the Highland Lakes near Austin, TX to places like Mitchell Lake, Calaveras Lake Park, Woodlawn Park, and Braunig Lake Park near San Antonio, TX, all the way down to the Gulf Coast. Boating can be a great way to enjoy a nice day with friends or relax with some fishing gear, but just like operating any kind of motorized vehicle, it's important to understand the risks involved.
Common Boating Accidents
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI): It's illegal to operate any motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, but people make poor decisions far too often. Whether it's the driver of your boat who's had too much to drink or the driver of another boat, BUI's are serious threats to your safety.
- Reckless Driving: While reckless driving often accompanies BUIs, alcohol isn't necessary to drive a boat too fast, too close to other boats, or too close to shore. No matter how tempting it may be to test the top speed of a boat, doing so can endanger the lives of passengers and innocent bystanders.
- Texas flats boats / bay boats: These boats have a thin hull made for operating in shallow water along the Texas Gulf Coast and in the lakes, which has made them especially popular to fishermen in the San Antonio area. After several deaths caused by this type of boat, the U.S. Coast Guard hired a private research team to perform a series of tests to determine the safety of this style of boat. They tested how flats boats handled hard turns at 25 miles per hour - normally a routine maneuver for other boats - and found they would lose control and spin 180 degrees with the motor coming out of the water exposing the propeller. Because the Coast Guard doesn't have the authority to issue recalls or safety changes, it's important to understand the risks with these popular Texas flats boats / bay boats.
Texas State Representative Lyle Larson, along with the family of a 16-year-old girl who was killed when a flats boat lost control, is currently working on a bill to require operators of that style of boat to wear a lanyard connected to a kill switch to increase safety, but that's only one step involved in ensuring the safety of passengers and operators of flats boats.
If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, the best thing to do is to reach out for legal help once you have received the necessary medical attention. Here at Wyatt Law Firm, our San Antonio boat accident attorneys never charge a fee unless we secure a recovery for you. We also offer free initial consultations, socontact us today and we'll take the time to tailor a legal strategy for you.