Virginia Boating Safety: What You Should Know About Accidents on the Water | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Southeastern Virginia (VA) is blessed with great rivers, bays, coves, and inlets, like Hampton Roads itself, the Chesapeake Bay, the Lynnhaven River, and the James River. However, not everyone stops to think about the dangers of their boating pastime. As Virginia boating accident and injury attorneys we know that every year, there are numerous boating accidents that result in injury or death. Common dangers on the water include fires, accidental drowning, loss of limbs, and electrocution.

As a practicing attorney specializing in injury law as well as maritime law, I often hear from clients involved in boating accidents of this kind, who are seeking advice on what to do next. Victims, or families of victims involved in boating accidents have a right to file claims against those they believe to be at fault, and to seek damages for injuries or wrongful death from the responsible insurance companies.


Unfortunately, many boating accidents are due to negligence. Accidents are often caused by individuals with little boating experience, who take boats out without proper knowledge of boating rules and safety. When driving a car, we expect other drivers to obey the rules of the road, and this holds true for boaters when they are out on the water as well. Knowledge of boating rules and compliance with safety standards such as having life jackets onboard can be a critical step in accident prevention. Those operating watercraft without adequate education on proper rules and boating safety are putting others at risk.


A boating mishap can quickly turn into a crisis if not handled properly. Accidents can range from improper anchoring, vessels capsizing, to more serious calamities such as collisions, or even hitting overhead power lines. A child could also get hurt water skiing in Norfolk on the Lafayette River or get a head injury in a jet ski collision in Broad Bay in Virginia Beach.


Faulty manufacturing of boats or boating equipment can play a part in accidents as well. In these types of cases, companies who produce or manufacture the defective product can be found liable. If you have been injured in a boating accident that was caused by negligence, or substandard equipment, you should seek legal advice.