On September 8, 2020, two boats crashed on Satsuma Lake, according to a press release from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Marine Patrol Division. The boat crash occurred around noon south of Gunnison Creek in Bayou Sara. Upon arriving, troopers discovered a person had died, and two other individuals were injured.

There were a man and woman on the 2020 Bass Tracker involved in the accident. The 64-year-old man from Satsuma who was on the boat died. A 61-year-old woman survived the two-boat crash.

The other boat involved in the Lake Satsuma accident was a 1990 Wahoo operated by a 63-year-old man from Satsuma. 

Troopers continue to investigate the case of the boat crash. News reports state that the crash occurred near the Steele Creek boat launch, but the press release from the ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division did not contain that information.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Alabama

The cause of the above boat crash is unknown. However, boat crashes are common. Many factors can lead to a boat accident.

Some of the more common causes of boat accidents include:

  • Inexperienced operators
  • Excessive speed and reckless driving
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Failing to keep a proper lookout
  • Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to maintain the boat properly
  • Defective boat parts and systems
  • Horseplay 
  • Distractions on and off the boat

One of the best things that a boat operator can do to prevent boating accidents is to take a boating instruction class. A boating education class teaches new boat owners about how to maintain and operate a boat safely. Operators learn boating laws and how to decrease the risk of injuries and deaths while on the water.

Who is Liable for Injuries and Damages Caused by a Boating Accident?

The person or party who caused the accident is generally liable for any injuries and damages caused by the accident. A person who causes a boating accident can be liable for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses and bills
  • Loss of income, wages, and benefits
  • Cost of personal care 
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and mental distress 
  • Permanent impairments, disabilities, and scarring
  • Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
  • Property damage

The victim must prove that the party was responsible for causing the boating accident before the victim can recover compensation for damages. Parties who might be liable in a boating accident include, but are not limited to:

Boat Owners and Operators

Boat operators and owners owe a duty of care to their passengers and others on the water to operate the boat safely. That duty includes maintaining the boat in a manner that does not cause harm or injury to another party.

For example, the person who owns the boat is liable for damages caused by an accident if he operates the boat under the influence of alcohol or allows another person to operate the boat while intoxicated. The owner could be liable for damages if an accident occurs because of a maintenance problem. The owner could also be liable for a wrongful death.

Boat Manufacturers 

If a boat part or system is defective, the manufacturer may be held liable under a product liability lawsuit. Defective systems could cause a boat to run into another boat or a dock. A defective ladder could cause someone to fall while trying to get back into the boat from the water.

Other Boat Owners

If another boat crashes into your boat, that boat owner could be liable for any damages and injuries caused by the crash. Boat operators must obey all boating rules and regulations.

Boat Rental Companies

Boat rental companies may also be liable if they rent a boat that is faulty or unsafe. They can be held liable if their operators are negligent or reckless.

What Should You Do After a Boat Accident?

Boat owners must stop their boats and assist anyone who is in danger or injured. They must also provide the name, address, and boat information to all injured parties and the other boat owner. 

Boat accidents that result in injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $2,000 must be reported to the Alabama Marine Patrol. It can be beneficial to report all accidents so that you have a written record of the accident.

See a doctor as soon as possible if you do not go to the emergency room directly from the accident. You must document your injuries for a personal injury claim. If you cannot prove that the boat accident caused your injuries, you cannot recover compensation from the party responsible for the accident.

You may also want to contact a personal injury attorney for advice. Because of the complex laws regarding maritime accidents, it can be helpful to have legal advice from an experienced lawyer.