With Labour Day weekend fast approaching, many Nova Scotians are looking forward to one last chance to get out on the water. With ocean bays, inlets, lakes and rivers strewn throughout the province, we have an abundance of options to swim, boat and cool down. Despite the beneficial aspects of living so close to the water, we should keep in mind that, at times, a fun summer boating trip could go wrong. In June of 2016, the Canadian Red Cross released the results of a 20-year long study on water-related fatality trends in Canada. Between 1991 and 2013, there were an average 101 deaths each year from summer boating-related incidents. Summertime is the perfect time to go boating, but it is important to be safe while you are on the water.
What can I do to stay safe?
In all Canadian provinces, a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is required if you are the operator of a motorized vessel. When travelling on a boat, always make sure the operator has a valid PCOC. In Nova Scotia, operators caught without a PCOC face a minimum $250 fine.
In addition to the above, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and right of ways in the body of water in which you travel. Make sure to pack sunscreen, snacks, and water. Fatigue from heat and summer activities can impair a boater’s ability to navigate effectively.
Never get onboard with a boater who is impaired by alcohol. In Canada, operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an offence under the Criminal Code. For some larger boats, that have permanent cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, alcohol is permitted while the boat is anchored or docked.
If you are a boat operator, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are licensed, and not impaired, while operating your vessel.
Who is responsible if I get into a boating accident?
If you are injured in a boating accident, you may be able to sue the operator of the boat for negligence or, more particularly, for failing to provide reasonable safety to the passengers onboard. You may also be able to sue the owner of the boat. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the manufacturing company, or other passengers onboard (whose actions contributed to your injuries), may also bear liability. Finally, if you are involved in a boating accident, which took place while you were renting a boat, or while you were a passenger on an “excursion” type trip, the company you were boating with may be liable.
Liability for your injuries can get very complicated, and a lawyer can help you navigate the seas of pursuing a claim. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, and you are unsure what you can claim for, the legal team at Wagners can help you. You can reach us at 902-425-7330 or 1-800-465-8794.