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Boating Accidents in Alaska



Alaska has relatively few boating accidents; only 20 out of the 4,588 reported nationwide in 2011 occurred in the state. However, if you are involved in one of those accidents, you need to know your rights under state and federal laws. If you were injured, a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your options.

Civil Liability in a Boating Accident

With a few exceptions, under Alaska boating statutes a boat's owner is liable for injuries or property damage caused by his negligence. This is true even if the owner is not operating the vessel, as long as the operator had the owner's permission to use the boat. The state generally presumes immediate family members have permission.

If you have been injured, or a loved one has died, in a boating accident, talk with an experienced boating attorney as soon as possible to decide if you should file a lawsuit against the owner or operator.

Alaska Reporting Requirements

State law requires the operator of a boat involved in an accident to submit a written accident report to the Office of Boating Safety when the incident:

  • Caused death
  • Led to the disappearance of one or more persons
  • Caused a serious injury needing more than basic first-aid treatment
  • Resulted in property damage of more than $500
  • Damaged the vessel to the extent that it is a total loss

The damage threshold is lower under federal rules, but otherwise Alaska follows the federal reporting regulations. In the case of death, disappearance, or serious injury, the report is required within 48 hours, and no more than 10 days for other cases.

Staying Safe in a Boat

Most accidents are preventable, such as those involving alcohol or not paying attention to your surroundings. Whether you are the operator or a passenger, it is important to stay alert, sober, and to wear a life jacket. This way, you can avoid potential hazards and, if the worst does happen, increase your chances of avoiding injury or death. According to the U.S. Coast Guard's most recent report, 84 percent of people who drowned in a boating accident were not wearing life jackets.

Get Legal Representation for an Injury

If you need an Arizona lawyer after a boat accident injury and you're not sure where to find one, call 877-9113-7222. A client care representative can put you in touch with an experienced boating accident attorney.