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Boating recreation not exempt from personal injury liability

The number of people who have died as a result of boating accidents in Australia has increased over the last four years, a recent report has indicated.

According to Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), the amount of people who have drowned while travelling on fishing vessels and sailing boats has increased, bucking the trend of other water related fatalities which have dropped over the last seven years.

In the National Coastal Safety Report 2011, SLSA shows that 28 per cent of coastal drowning deaths in Australia occurred during a boating activity.

Chief operating officer at SLSA Peter George said that the overall drop in numbers was good to see, although there was still a lot of room for improvement.

George asserted: “While these figures are very encouraging, we should never become complacent.

“The number of coastal drowning deaths attributed to boating has been steadily increasing since 2007.”

Many recreational businesses take out professional indemnity insurance to protect the business owners from direct financial loss in the event of injury.

These cases arise when it can be shown that the owner, occupier or operator of a piece of property has not taken reasonable care to reduce the risks posed to individuals who may be present, as they are said to have a duty of care to people who interact with their equipment.

In most cases this has to do with checking that the vessel is sound and has had the required safety inspections.

Some operators may require that all persons on board view an emergency procedure or wear certain articles of personal protective equipment such as life vests.

Savvy business owners will often require that patrons sign an indemnity form that helps to protect them in the event of injury.

However, if the court finds that the owner or occupier of a vessel failed to adequately protect their guests from foreseeable harm, they may still be liable.

A personal injury lawyer will be able to help victims of nautical accidents to determine if this is the case, having extensive case experience that can help to maximise any resulting payout.

A no win no fee law firm can provide a valuable starting point for individuals involved in boating accidents as they can provide them with an up-front assessment of the materials needed to prove to the court that the owner or operator was at fault.

© 2011 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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