With this streak of hot summer weather, many boating enthusiasts will be eager to get out onto the water. Living on Georgian Bay means we have the luxury of enjoying some of the most spectacular recreational boating in the world. Making sure you are up to date with current boating safety regulations as well as following some basic safety tips, will help make this boating season unforgettable – for all the right reasons!
Boating Safety Regulations
In many ways, operating a boat is similar to driving a car. There are numerous laws, regulations and local rules covering such things as speed, right of way, lights and signals and collisions. As well, boats need to be registered and licensed.
Recently, new boating regulations were passed by the federal government requiring anyone operating a power driven boat to prove they are competent – meaning they understand the rules of the road and other important safety information. As outlined by Transport Canada, the most common way to prove competency is to obtain the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. In many cases, operators will take an accredited boating safety course in order to obtain this Card.
For a further discussion on boating safety and how to stay safe on the water, you may enjoy reading Personal Injury Lawyer discusses Boating Safety Laws in Ontario.
Personal Injury in a Boating Accident
In the unlikely event that you are injured as a result of a boating mishap – you need to be aware of significant differences between car accident and boating accident law in Ontario.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, you have the qualified ability to sue the at fault driver for damages (for things like pain and suffering, lost income) as well as apply for no fault accident benefits. Payments under the no fault accident benefit scheme may include income replacement benefits as well as medical and rehabilitation benefits. Importantly, as the name suggests, you can apply and receive benefits under the no fault scheme, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
If you are involved in a boating accident the avenues for recovering damages for your injuries are a little different.
Limit on Personal Injury Damages
The first important difference is that no fault benefits are not available for boaters – instead, anyone injured in a boating accident is restricted to seeking damages against the at fault party. Furthermore, there is a limit to the amount of money that will be paid out as a result of a boating accident.
In Ontario, liability for personal injuries which occur while boating are governed by the Marine Liability Act. Among other things, this Act and its accompanying regulations, sets out the rules regarding the apportionment of liability for personal injuries and fatalities, the limitation period as well as the maximum amount payable for any distinct occasion involving a ship. Currently, for a ship less than 300 gross tonnage, the maximum is $1,000,000 for loss of life or personal injury, regardless of the number of people injured and making claims.
If you or anyone you know has been involved in a boating accident, our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers can help. Contact us online for a free initial consultation with an Ontario Injury Lawyer or call 1-800-563-6348.