Fatal Mission Bay Cruise Leads to Death of La Jolla Man

San Diego’s Mission Bay had a deadly even this week when lifeguards and divers found the body of a 28-year-old La Jolla man in the bay on August 9, 2009, over 12 hours after he dove off the Bahia Belle cruise ship with two friends. He did not make it to shore and drowned.

Sean Rae and his friends jumped off of the tour boar during the night time cruise around 12:35 a.m. in the early morning of August 9, according to San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum. The San Diego Police Department released dive teams and joined with the Port of San Diego to search, along with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, and even with lifeguards from the North County, to all search the waters. Before the body was found, Lerum was worried the area would be too large to search and successfully locate the body.

The Bahia Belle is a mock paddlewheel restaurant-bar cruise boat based at the Bahia Resort, which regularly cruises Mission Bay. Rae lived in La Jolla with his girlfriend.

If you or anyone you know has ever been injured or killed in a San Diego boating accident, please contact San Diego personal injury attorney. You may also contact these San Diego boating accident lawyers online here.

Alcohol Use a Common Cause of California Boating Accidents

Boating and alcohol use can be a deadly combination. According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways, 25 percent of all boating-related deaths involve alcohol use. Having a sober driver for your boat is every bit as important as having a sober driver for your car – and if you choose to drink and boat, the stakes are just as high.

Although the legal limit for being under the influence of alcohol is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%, studies show that a person’s ability to operate a boat safely may be impaired at as low as 0.35%. Just one drink can raise your BAC to this level, or even higher if your body weight is quite low. It takes about one hour per drink to sober up, or longer if you have a slow metabolism.

At a BAC of 0.35%, a person’s judgment and coordination become impaired. Judgment and coordination are two essential requirements for operating a boat safely. You must be able to determine where obstacles, docks, and other boats are, and pilot the boat so that it avoids colliding with any of these things. Impaired judgment makes the first one difficult, and impaired coordination makes the second one more difficult.

Unfortunately, even if you choose to boat sober, you can’t control the decisions of other boaters who can cause an accident. If you’re injured in a California boating accident this summer, the experienced California boating injury attorneys can help. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Colorado River Boat Accident Kills Woman, Injures Others

21-year-old Los Angeles County resident Brittany Stark was killed and two others suffered serious injuries in Colorado River boating accident on June 26, 2011, around 10:26 p.m. According to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Officials, the Ski Centurion was being driven at about 25 mph by 20-year-old Gregory Kettlekamp when it hit the shore and stopped abruptly. Several of the passengers were ejected out of the ski boat.

Stark was immediately transported to La Paz Regional Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead. The other two injured victims were airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital to receive medical treatment for the injuries suffered.

Now the investigating officers need to determine whether there was a mechanical failure or Kettlekamp was driving negligently. It is still unknown if alcohol was a contributing factor to this collision.

If it is found that Kettlekamp is responsible for the accident, then he may be held liable for Stark’s wrongful death and injuries suffered by others. It would be in the best interest of Stark’s family members to seek counsel from a San Bernardino County boating accident lawyer to know about their legal rights and options. An experienced lawyer will help the victims and their family members obtain compensation to cover funeral costs, medical costs, loss of anticipated income, loss of love and companionship, and other accident-related damages.

Our law office offers sincere condolences to all those who knew and loved Stark for such a tragic loss. We also hope and pray that the injuries suffered by the other passengers heal soon.

Remember California Laws for Safe Boating this Summer

California boat accidents are all too common in the summer months. Whether you’re on the ocean or on an inland lake, river, pond, or stream, a boat accident or crash can cause serious injury.

According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways, there were 570 reported boat accidents in our state in 2010. In these accidents, 283 people were injured and 49 people lost their lives.

Some key points of California boating law, according to the Department of Boating and Waterways, to keep in mind this summer include:

  • Lifejackets. A lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD) must be worn by any passenger under age 12 on any vessel less than 27 feet long. If you’re on a personal watercraft or being pulled by another vessel, you must also wear a PFD, regardless of your age.
  • Driving age. If the boat has a motor bigger than 15 horsepower, the boat’s driver must be at least 16 years old to operate the boat without an adult. Drivers between the ages of 12 and 15 may operate the boat only if an adult supervises them. Children younger 12 may not operate these boats.
  • Boating safety courses. These are required for anyone convicted of a moving violation while on a boat, but they can improve safety for any boater.

Our San Diego California boat accident attorneys have the practical experience and personal dedication to fight to protect your legal rights after an accident. If you or someone you love has been injured while boating, call us today. Your first telephone consultation with us is free and confidential.

San Diego Boating Accident Lawyer

With the Pacific Ocean as its front yard, San Diego is a boating paradise. Residents and tourists can take out their own boat or rent one at the many shops surrounding San Diego’s waterways, which include San Diego Bay, De Anza Cove and Fiesta Island in Mission Bay, El Capitan, Lake Jennings, Lake Murray, and Lake Poway. Though, despite the notion that it is a leisurely activity, there are a lot of risks and regulations that boaters must understand before they get into the water.

Unfortunately, many people who decide to set sail disregard these regulations and put their lives and the lives of other boaters in jeopardy. In 2009, the California Department of Boating and Waterways (CDBW) reported roughly 2,500 accidents. 40% of those resulted in injuries and deaths.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident because of someone else’s negligence, contact one of the knowledgeable San Diego boating accident attorneys. We will work to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Call our law office.

San Diego Boat Accident Lawyers

On a sunny holiday weekend, it is the perfect time to break out the barbeque grill and sail around the San Diego Bay or one of the many reservoirs surrounding San Diego. It is so relaxing to spend some quality time with the friends and family on the calm waters. Though, with about 900,000 vessels registered in California, these areas tend to get congested. What was supposed to be a boater’s paradise may turn into a nightmare when boat operators and passengers do not follow California boating regulations. Injuries and accidents happen because of this negligence.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boat accident, the San Diego boat accident lawyers can help you seek the damages you are entitled to for your injuries. Contact us to set up a free consultation.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Newport Yacht Race Participant

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for the last of four boaters who were lost when the yacht they were racing collided with another object on the ocean, possibly a large ship. The other three boaters all lost their lives in the accident.

The suspected crash involved a yacht known as the Aegean. The yacht and her four crew members were competing in the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. The accident was discovered by two race employees riding in a safety boat, who first realized something was wrong when they came across shards of the yacht floating in the water, none more than six inches long. Once they came across a lifeboat with an identification number and the yacht’s nameplate, they were able to identify the lost vessel.

Two of the lost yachters were recovered by the team in the safety boat that discovered the accident and another was found by the U.S. Coast Guard. The fourth member of the yacht’s crew is still missing.

Investigators speculate that the yacht was hit by a larger vessel, such as a freighter. Other race participants had reported hearing a larger ship in the area near the time when the accident likely occurred.

Boating is a popular summer activity on southern California’s sunny ocean waters, but when something goes wrong, a fun trip or a challenging race can turn quickly into a tragedy. If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, please don’t hesitate to call the experienced San Diego boat accident attorneys. Your initial telephone consultation is free and confidential.

California Senate Reviews Boating Under the Influence Bill

The Daily Point of Orange County reported last Thursday, March 12 that the California State Senate is reviewing a new bill that would allow California and San Diego authorities to treat boating under the influence in our San Diego waters just like they would treat driving under the influence on our San Diego roads. If passed, the bill would allow San Diego and California authorities to suspend boaters’ licenses if caught boating under the influence. You can learn more in this Daily Pilot story.

The California BUI bill was introduced by California State Senator John Benoit that represents Senate District 37, just north of San Diego County. Senator Benoit’s bill will give the DMV the power to treat a BUI just as they would treat a DUI. Previously, the DMV had the power to do just that but last year, a court of appeals verdict deemed that they did not have the power to do so.

San Diego harbor officials and officials in other California counties would like to see the bill passed. They believe that even though boating is a recreational activity, there are still many responsibilities that a boater has. According to the California Department of Boating and Waterways there were 55 boating accident fatalities in 2007, half of which happened in Southern California. Also, about 20 of the 55 victims were intoxicated.

If you or a fellow boater are ever injured or killed in a San Diego boating accident, please call the San Diego boat accident attorneys.