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Submerged Objects & Underwater Hazards While Boating

January 16, 2024
Boat Accident

Understanding What Dangers Lurk Below the Water

While many boat operators may be well aware of the dangers that are directly in front of them, such as other vessels, the shoreline, and the pier, few think about what may be just below the surface of the water. Submerged objects and other underwater hazards can cause extraordinary damage to a vessel, particularly if they are struck at a high speed. They can also result in serious injuries to anyone on the boat. 

Avoiding Underwater Hazards

It may seem somewhat unlikely, but there are a number of ways that boat operators can avoid submerged objects and other underwater hazards. It takes due diligence and an in-depth knowledge of their vessel to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Ways to avoid striking a submerged object:

  • Know your draft - A boat’s draft is the distance between the waterline and the deepest point of the vessel’s hull. In other words, it tells you how much water you need so that your boat won’t touch the bottom. However, your draft may change depending on how much added weight is in your boat.
  • Be aware of your surroundings - Another way to stay safe on the water is to know your surroundings. Are you traveling in an area that is known for having a lot of debris? Was there recently a storm that could have broken trees or caused objects to become submerged?
  • Reduce your speed - Hitting an object at a low speed is going to cause significantly less damage compared to striking it while going fast. It will also help avoid causing people to get thrown overboard in a collision. Reduce your speed, particularly in shallow areas. 
  • Wear a PFD - Wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) can save your life. Always carry enough PFDs for everyone on the boat and encourage their use. 
  • Have a lookout - Assigning a proper lookout can help you avert disaster. A lookout may be able to see submerged objects that are not noticeable to a boat operator. 
  • Use the tools on your boat - Your boat may be equipped with tools that can help you see what’s below the surface of the water. Fishfinders and other SONAR devices can help provide some idea about objects below you and the depth of the water but should be done in conjunction with a proper lookout as they won’t detect floating objects. 

According to State Farm, striking a submerged object is a leading cause of boat claims in the United States. The more steps you can take to avoid these hazards, the better off you will be. If you are involved in an accident or are injured as a passenger while riding in a boat, you should consult with an attorney.

Injured by a Submerged Object? Contact Our Office. 

Were you injured in an accident caused by striking a submerged object? Contact Mase Seitz Briggs at (844) 627-3529 to schedule a case evaluation. All consultations are free and provided without obligation to retain our services. There are no fees unless we win. Call now to speak directly with an experienced trial lawyer. 

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