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North Dakota Boating Accidents



Boating can be a fun and relaxing activity. But an accident on the open water can quickly turn deadly. If it does, talking to a North Dakota boating accident lawyer can help.

Alcohol and Boating Accidents

You probably already know you shouldn't drink and drive a car. But do you realize that applies equally to driving a boat? The U.S. Coast Guard reports alcohol as one of the top contributors to boat accidents nationally, especially fatal ones. Operating a boat while drunk is illegal. But even if you're not legally drunk, drinking could be considered evidence you caused the accident. If you let a drunk passenger control the boat, any accident that occurs could also be your fault.

Negligence and Boating Accidents

Negligence — operating a boat in an unsafe manner — is another big contributor to accidents. Negligent acts include:

  • Speeding
  • Not having a lookout
  • Allowing passengers to ride the seat backs, bow, or gunwales
  • Passing too close to shore, swimmers or other boats

These and other actions are illegal under North Dakota boating rules. Just doing them can make you guilty of a crime. Not knowing the rules is not a valid excuse. If you also cause an accident, you add to your legal troubles.

Responsibility in Boating Accidents

In general, a boat operator is responsible for everything that happens on the boat, so if you're the operator, you could be liable for accidents caused by your passengers. This can include both criminal and civil liability.

North Dakota boat and water safety regulations require operators to report accidents where:

  • Someone died
  • Someone disappeared from a boat
  • Someone needed more than first-aid treatment
  • Property damage totaled more than $2,000
  • A vessel was a total loss

Submit a written report to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department within 48 hours after incidents involving death or injury. You have five days to report property damage cases.

Find a Local North Dakota Boat Accident Lawyer Today

If you caused or were injured in a boat accident, a skilled lawyer can help evaluate your case and advise you on your next steps. Call now to speak with a boating accident attorney in North Dakota at 877-913-7222.