The Reality of Michigan Boat Accidents

Published on July 23rd, 2018

Michigan boat accidentThe horrific duck boat sinking in Branson, Missouri, last weekend has highlighted the inherent dangers that come with traveling on any waterway. Michigan residents are surrounded by, and make good use of, hundreds of lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the state. In fact, there are just over 1 million registered boaters in Michigan. Boaters may be licensed to sail the seas but, just like motorists, holding a license does not automatically make you a good driver. Michigan boat accidents are, sadly, a grim reality.

The Tragedy of the Branson Duck Boat Accident

Of the 31 people on board the Ride the Ducks Branson amphibious vessel, 17 died, and none of the victims were wearing life jackets when found. In fact, none of the passengers, according to reports, were wearing life jackets.

Although the captain pointed out that there were three sizes of life jackets on the vehicle, the life jackets were not required and he said, “You won’t need them,” according to the passenger who lost nine family members in the tragedy, including her husband and three children.

Stunningly, another family of nine people on the duck boat all survived. They too are suffering trauma – not only of the incident itself, but of survivor’s guilt.

Missouri state investigators are working to determine whether any criminal acts were committed and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of the sinking, an inquiry that could take up to a year to complete. Why did the vessel change its route that day? Why was a severe thunderstorm warning issued for the area 30 minutes before the accident not heeded? Were there design flaws and safety issues? Did the duck boat company ignore recommendations to upgrade the boats before operating them?

Dangers on Michigan Waterways That Cause Boat Accidents

Even though you may feel secure inside a vehicle, seatbelts are life-saving, as are life jackets on waterways. While there is no way to set boundaries for boaters on the water, there are laws that govern the Great Lakes and their tributaries, as well as the many other waterways in Michigan.

Knowing there are regulations, however, does not stop boaters from driving when they shouldn’t be. So many problems that cause vehicle accidents cause boat accidents, including, distraction, intoxication or impairment, and inexperience. Bad weather, poor boat condition, daredevil behavior, and crowded waterways also contribute to boat crashes.

The Aftermath of a Boat Accident

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the Branson duck boat sinking is reported to take up to a year to complete, but passengers and their family members will want justice long before that. There will be questions about who was at fault in this tragedy: the captain, the crew, the duck boat company, a horrific act of nature? Who is liable for the life-altering suffering and preventable fatalities?

If you have lost a loved one in a boating accident or been injured yourself, contact an experienced Michigan boat accident lawyer at Thurswell Law. Your consultation is free and we do not charge any fees unless you collect. Call (248) 354-2222 today.

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