If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed in a boating accident, contact GJEL for a FREE case review. Our boat accident lawyer team is committed to helping families and we will do everything possible to hold wrongdoers responsible.

GJEL handles serious injury and wrongful death cases from boating accidents throughout California.

Talk to a California Boat Accident Lawyer – You May Be Entitled to Compensation for:

  • Lost wages from injuries or death
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Funeral expenses
  • & more

We will fight for you at no out-of-pocket cost to you. You won’t pay unless and until we win your case. Contact a boat accident lawyer at GJEL today to find out if you have a case.

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GJEL Is An Award-Winning Personal Injury Law Firm

GJEL is one of California’s highest-rated boat accident law firms and we have recovered over $950 Million dollars for our clients while maintaining a 99% success rate. We specialize in helping victims who have been seriously injured or killed in boating and watercraft accidents throughout California.

At GJEL we give every case the personal attention it deserves. We are boat accident experts

What You Should Do After A Boat Accident

At the Scene

Contact the nearest Coast Guard or state marine police station to file a report of the incident. Get names, contact information, and insurance information from any other boaters involved, and take photos of the accident scene. These reports and photos will preserve information and help with any subsequent settlement or litigation.

After a boat accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if the injury appears minor, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Injuries may not become apparent until days or even weeks after an accident.

After the Accident

If you have been involved in a boating accident, you will need to consult a boat injury lawyer who will be able to advise you on the best course of action. You should also gather as much documentation as you can on your injuries and related expenses.

Be careful what you say to other third parties. Insurance adjusters and attorneys have a vested interest in minimizing your damages and paying as little as possible on your claim. It is best to let an experienced attorney handle their questions and requests.

Types of Cases We Handle

At GJEL, we handle all types of boating accidents. Here are a few of the more common accidents we see:

– Boating accidents at work-related functions
– Charter Boat and SCUBA Accidents
– Boat Fires
– Slip and Falls

While some boats may seem safer than others, a cabin cruiser is just as susceptible to an accident as a sailboat. This is because the weather on the water can be unpredictable.

If you were injured on a boat you should talk to an attorney right away.

Boating Injury Lawyers at GJEL are standing by ready to help in your time of need!

California Boating Accidents Are Common

Whether you are enjoying time on a privately owned boat, riding a personal watercraft such as a jet ski, or taking a ferry to work you are at risk for serious boating injuries.

While boating can be a fun activity, sometimes accidents happen.

Although boat operators and owners have a duty to exercise the highest degree of care in order to prevent injuries to others, injuries still frequently occur as the result of negligence or carelessness.

Some of the most common boat accidents are the following:

  • Slip and fall due to a wet surface
  • Multiple boat collisions
  • Boat sinking or tipping
  • Boat fires
  • Falling off a boat
  • Death

Many accidents that take place on watercraft are the result of a reckless or inexperienced operator or some type of boat malfunction.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, contact GJEL Boat Accident Attorneys today for a free case review. We have recovered over $10 million dollars for clients who have been seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of a boat operator or owner.

Top Causes of Boat Accidents in California

In 2021, there were 593 reported boating accidents in California, resulting in 256 injuries and 44 fatalities. Here are some of the most common reasons for boating accidents.


Over one-third of all boating accidents involve a boat driver who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. California has strict BUI (boating under the influence) laws, but they are often ignored. A boat accident attorney can get you the compensation you deserve for injuries caused by intoxicated boaters.

Unsafe Speed

Boating too fast for water conditions can lead to serious boat accidents. Other boats can be overturned in wakes caused by a reckless boater, or passengers can be injured when a boat slams into submerged rocks at high speeds or is unable to stop before hitting another watercraft.

Careless and Reckless Operation of a Boat

Many injuries happen due to operator negligence. Recreational boats are required to carry fire extinguishers and life vests and to have horns and visual signals. Captains must watch for other boats and swimmers in the water. A boat accident attorney can help you hold negligent owners responsible for their carelessness.

Inexperienced Boat Driver

Boat operators must understand the water rules. They must be able to handle emergency situations and they must know how to drive and steer a boat. Without that knowledge, an inexperienced boater becomes a hazard to passengers and to other boaters. Operator inexperience is the third leading cause of boat accidents.

Boat Passenger Carelessness or Recklessness

While boating accidents are most frequently caused by operator error, passengers can also be found guilty of reckless, criminal, or negligent behavior. A passenger who assaults another passenger or interferes with the boat’s operation can be held liable for their actions should they lead to injuries or accidents.

Bad Weather

When you are out on the water, the weather can be unpredictable. Operators need to stay alert for weather changes and pay attention to forecasts and Coast Guard warnings of dangerous weather. conditions. If they do not, they put their craft and passengers at serious risk of injury or death.

Boat Accident Statistics Across the US

A man enjoying a boat ride in a California lake

There are approximately 13 million boats and watercrafts registered in the U.S., many of which should be equipped with Coast Guard-approved safety devices, such as:

  • Personal floatation devices of varying sizes for adults and children
  • Sound-producing devices, such as a horn, whistle, or bell
  • Working radio to make distress calls in the event of an emergency
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Visual distress signals such as lights or orange flags
  • Ventilation on gasoline-powered boats

These and other safety devices are important for boaters of all ages and skill levels because they may save lives by preventing accidents and serious injuries. Unfortunately, 800 people are killed and over 8,000 people suffer injuries due to involvement in boating accidents every year.

Types of Damage in a Boat Accident Lawsuit

Boating accidents can be traumatic, life-changing events. If you were involved in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence or misbehavior, you are eligible for compensation for your losses. Here are some of the damages that you can claim in a boat accident lawsuit.

Costs of Past and Future Medical Treatment

Slips and falls, near-drowning, propeller wounds, or other injuries from a boating accident can lead to high medical bills and ongoing medical expenses. If your boat accident attorney can prove in a lawsuit that the other party or parties were totally at fault in the incident, you can expect full compensation for any past or future medical treatment needed for your injuries. This includes not only doctor and hospital expenses but also rehabilitation, therapy, and necessary medical devices.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

Boating accidents can leave you with chronic pain and mental trauma. If the injuries you sustained were severe and caused you to experience extreme pain and emotional suffering, or if you lost a loved one due to a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced boat accident lawyer can ensure that you are made whole for grief, anxiety, and sleepless nights caused by someone else’s carelessness.

Lost Wages

A boating accident may leave you unable to work for a lengthy period or leave you unable to perform your previous job. If you lose wages or your ability to work is impacted as a result of a negligent boater, you deserve to be compensated for your financial losses, lost benefits, missed promotions, and other damages to your earning potential. A skilled boating accident attorney can tally your wage losses and build a strong case for your lost wage claims.

Damage to Property

If your boat is damaged in a boating accident where the other party was at fault, you are entitled to compensation for the fair market value of your boat or for the cost of any necessary repairs. You may also raise a claim for personal property that was damaged, lost, or destroyed in the boating accident. Your boat accident lawyer can help you tally up your property losses and file reimbursement claims with the proper people.

Talk to a Boat Accident Attorney at GJEL

We invite you to call 1-855-508-9565 or email lawfirm@gjel.com to speak with an experienced boating accident attorney at GJEL if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident. We provide free consultations, and we’re paid only when we win your claim. You’ll pay no fees if we don’t obtain a verdict or settlement for you.

Please visit the Contact Us page to find our local office nearest you. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

If you or someone you know was injured in a boat accident, contact GJEL today for a no-obligation free case review at (925) 471-8225.



Frequently Asked Questions

How Can a Boat Accident Attorney Help Me?

A boat accident lawyer can help you determine the parties responsible for the accident. They gather medical records, accident reports, and other evidence supporting your claim. Then, they will negotiate with insurance carriers to win a just settlement for your injuries, or litigate your case in court should that prove necessary. Boat accident attorneys know the applicable statutes and can guide you through the legal maze until your case is settled.

Who’s Responsible for Boat Accidents in California?

The party or parties who caused the boating accident can be held liable for damages based on the degree to which their negligence or inaction contributed to the accident. Multiple people may be responsible for a boat accident, and each may owe you compensation for your pain and suffering. Your GJEL boat accident attorney has experience in these claims and can hold these entities responsible for your pain and suffering due to a watercraft accident.

Is there a Statute of Limitations on Boat Accident Lawsuits?

How long can you wait to file a lawsuit? California has a strict two-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. If your accident happened in navigable waters (waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or that are or have been used to transport interstate or foreign commerce), it is subject to Admiralty law and has a three-year limit. A boating accident attorney can help determine which statute applies to your case.

How Often Does a Boat Accident Happen in the US?

There are approximately 13 million recreational boats and watercraft (boats used primarily for leisure purposes) registered in the United States. In 2021, 658 people died as a result of boating accidents and 2,641 people were injured. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should contact a boat accident lawyer with experience in these types of claims.

What Makes Boat Accidents so Dangerous?

Boat accidents are especially dangerous because emergency medical assistance is not readily available on the water. If the boat operator is injured or incapacitated, there may not be anyone else on board who can summon help or drive the boat to shore. Boating accidents are serious and if you’ve been hurt in a boating accident you should consult a boating accident injury lawyer who knows how to secure your rights and see that you are properly compensated.

Can I Claim for My Injuries if I Was Drunk as a Passenger on the Boat?

Many recreational boat rides and boating accidents involve alcohol. You still have the right to file a boat injury claim if you were drinking so long as you were not the primary cause of the accident or injury. But your drunkenness may lead to a court finding you partially liable for your injuries and reducing your compensation. A boat injury attorney will be able to assess your situation and determine whether or not you have a viable compensation claim.

Recent Accidents

September 2019: Santa Cruz California