Connecticut Maritime Law

Have you been hurt in a boating accident in Connecticut that someone else caused? If so, you have the right to seek compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. A maritime attorney from Holth & Kollman, LLC, can be your guide and advocate during this challenging time.  

We have the experience to understand complex maritime laws, determine shipowner liability, and negotiate effectively with insurance companies. You can focus on your recovery while we work tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Personal Injury Claims in Maritime Settings

Boating and maritime accidents may provide grounds for personal injury claims, but pursuing these claims can be quite challenging. Such accidents occur in a unique environment where evidence can quickly disappear, and maritime law only adds to the complexity. Determining who is at fault requires an understanding of specific boating laws and vessel regulations. The conditions of the water and weather also play a significant role in these cases, making them harder to analyze.

This is where a Connecticut maritime personal injury lawyer comes in. They know these complex laws and know how to identify and preserve useful evidence to prove negligence or violation of maritime laws by the responsible party. Your attorney can build a strong case to support your maritime personal injury claim, with the goal of securing fair compensation for the harm you suffered.

Role of Maritime Attorneys in Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury lawyers help injured parties seek accountability and fair compensation after maritime accidents. They investigate boating incidents thoroughly, gathering evidence like witness statements, photos of the scene, and incident reports from law enforcement or private businesses. They use this information to determine who is at fault and what laws they might have broken. 

These lawyers also handle legal paperwork and negotiations with insurance companies, which can be an overwhelming burden for someone who’s also trying to recover from a serious injury. Personal injury attorneys fight to ensure that injured parties receive fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more from those responsible for their injuries.

Understanding Admiralty and Maritime Law

Whether you’re a seasoned mariner or a recreational boater, understanding Connecticut’s admiralty and maritime laws is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. Here’s what you should know if you go boating in Connecticut.

Enforcement

If you encounter a law enforcement or rescue vessel using an audible signal or flashing blue, red, or yellow lights while boating, you must: 

Slow your vessel immediately to a steerage-only speed.
If possible, adjust your course to avoid hindering law enforcement or rescue operations.
Continue at a reduced speed, unless directed otherwise by an officer, until you have passed the area where the vessel is operating.


Additionally, if you pass within 200 feet of a stationary law enforcement or fire rescue vessel using flashing lights or sirens, you must slow down to a slow-no-wake speed. Failure to comply can result in fines ranging from $50 to $200.

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Restricted Operating Distances and Speed Areas

You must not operate a vessel or tow a water skier within 100 feet of a flag, buoy, or other marker indicating the presence of underwater swimmers or divers. Motorboats other than personal watercraft must not exceed a slow-no-wake speed within 100 feet of the shore, docks, or anchored vessels except when actively taking off or landing a water skier. 

This distance is extended to 200 feet for personal watercraft. Additionally, all vessels must adhere to the slow-no-wake speed limit within 100 feet of buoys marking restricted swimming or boat access areas.

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Speed Regulations

You must control your speed while boating to avoid endangering people or property, including by maintaining the ability to stop your boat within the visible area ahead. You should significantly reduce your speed in areas like marinas, near fishing or swimming zones, and close to anchored vessels. 

Remember, you are responsible for any damage caused by your boat’s wake. In all situations, comply with speed limits set by law and any visible signs, especially in crowded waters or when visibility is poor.

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Overloading

Never overload your boat beyond its safe capacity. For boats less than 20 feet in length manufactured after 1972, a manufacturer-issued capacity label will indicate the maximum safe load. 

Connecticut law strictly prohibits altering, defacing, or removing this label. Always adhere to these capacity limits to ensure the safety and legal compliance of your boating activities.

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Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is both illegal and dangerous. In Connecticut, you are considered under the influence if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher (0.02% for those under 21). The penalties for BUI are severe and escalate with repeat offenses.  

A first offense can result in fines between $500 and $1,000, a one-year suspension of boating privileges, possible jail time, and 100 hours of mandatory community service. Second and subsequent offenses within ten years carry even heavier fines, longer suspensions, and mandatory jail time. Refusing to undergo a chemical test can result in more severe penalties than failing a test.

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Marijuana Intoxication and Boating

Even after the legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults in Connecticut, operating a boat under the influence of marijuana or other drugs remains illegal. Police departments work with Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) to assess whether boat operators are impaired. 

If the police find you are over the legal limit or you refuse to undergo a drug influence evaluation, you risk having your boating license suspended upon arrest.

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Boating Accidents and Reporting

In the event of a boating accident, you must remain at the scene, provide assistance to others if it’s safe, and share your personal and vessel identification details. You must report boating accidents promptly if they result in death, disappearance, or injury requiring medical attention beyond first aid.

Contact your nearest law enforcement agency and the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Boating Division within 48 hours to file a report.
You must also report accidents causing property damage exceeding $500 within five days.

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What Boating Safety Equipment is Required?

Boating in Connecticut offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and recreational enjoyment, but it also comes with the responsibility to ensure safety and compliance with state regulations. Whether you’re navigating the serene waters of the Long Island Sound or participating in competitive water sports, understanding and adhering to Connecticut’s boating safety equipment laws is essential. Here’s what you need to know about these requirements.

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Our Maritime Legal Services

If you’ve been hurt in a boating or maritime incident in Connecticut, a maritime attorney from Holth & Kollman, LLC, can help you by:
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Our Maritime Legal Services

Our maritime attorneys have in-depth knowledge of laws that specifically apply to waterway incidents. We can explain these laws in simple terms and determine how they could affect your case.

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Investigating the Incident

We can conduct thorough investigations to collect valuable evidence. This includes gathering witness statements, examining boat maintenance records, and reviewing accident reports.

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Determining Liability

We work to identify who is responsible for the incident. Whether it’s another boater, a boat manufacturer, or another entity altogether, we’ll figure out who to hold accountable.

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Handling Insurance Companies

Our maritime attorneys deal with insurance companies on your behalf. We negotiate aggressively for fair compensation so that you do not have to handle the stress of this process yourself.

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Calculating Damages

We can calculate the full extent of the harm you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This allows us to seek appropriate compensation for your losses when we file a claim on your behalf.

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Representing You in Court

If your case goes to trial, our maritime attorneys can represent you in court. We will prepare and present your case, arguing on your behalf for the results you deserve.

Consult a Connecticut Maritime Attorney Today About Your Case

If you’ve been hurt in a Connecticut boating accident, don’t wait to get the help you need to demand justice. Let the offshore injury attorneys at Holth & Kollman, LLC, guide and support you during this challenging time. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.

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