June 25, 2015

Getting out on the water is a popular pastime throughout Pennsylvania. There’s just something enjoyable about being outdoors and near the water on a sunny day. This is true regardless of whether you like to fish, dive, jet-ski, wakeboard or participate in any other water-related activities.

Unfortunately, some of the people who share the waterways throughout the Commonwealth do not exercise reasonable care with regard to boating safety and how their vehicles might affect others. The following are some of the more important regulations regarding boating safety in Pennsylvania:

— It’s illegal to operate a watercraft beyond the rate of speed that unnecessarily endangers the life or property of other people. Operating a watercraft negligently or with reckless disregard for others is unlawful.

— All boats must observe no-wake zones and reduce their speed whenever they come within 100 feet of swimmers or downed water skiers. These restrictions also apply to individuals waiting in the water. A slow no-wake speed is generally defined as the absolute slowest that a boat can go without creating a sizable wake while still maintaining maneuverability.

There are a few things you should know if you have lost a loved one due to a careless or negligent boat accident. Pennsylvania’s wrongful death statutes allows for the spouse, children or parents of a person killed by a negligent or wrongful act to sue all responsible parties.

Obtaining legal representation through the litigation process is vital to preserve your wrongful death claims. An attorney can help you identify every individual or business that may have contributed to the death of your loved one. Additionally, an attorney experienced in Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws can help defend your loved one’s estate from challenges from creditors and other parties claiming to be beneficiaries of that estate.

Source: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, “Chapter 2- Legal requirements Boat Operation Requirements,” accessed June 25, 2015