Boating Accident Attorney New London, CT

Boating on the picturesque waters of Connecticut should be a source of joy, not distress. However, a leisurely day can turn tragic if other boaters, someone on your vessel, or another party causes an accident. If that happens, you need a team that understands your needs and can help you recover the money you need for medical bills, lost income, and other losses.

At Holth & Kollman, LLC, our Connecticut maritime law firm blends compassionate guidance with fierce legal representation. We know the waves can get rough after an accident, but with help from a vessel collision law firm, you don’t have to navigate these troubled waters alone. We have provided legal counsel for boating accidents and other personal injury cases for more than 45 years. We don’t charge any fees unless you recover compensation for your injuries, making our services available to anyone who needs them. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

Key Boating Laws in Connecticut

Just as drivers must follow state traffic laws, boat operators and companies must follow certain regulations when they’re on the water in the state with regard to required safety equipment, licensing, and so on to prevent a nautical accident. Here are some of the state’s primary boating laws, pulled from the latest Connecticut Boater’s Guide:

Anyone wishing to operate a boat in Connecticut must obtain a Safe Boating Certificate (SBC) or Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO). An SBC allows the holder to operate any vessel except for a personal watercraft (the generic term for something like a Jet Ski), whereas a CPWO allows the holder to operate a personal watercraft or any other vessel. Operators must pass an approved boating safety course or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Equivalency Examination to obtain an SBC. To obtain a CPWO, the operator must pass an approved boating safety course, the DEEP Equivalency Examination, or the basic boating course and an approved 2.5-hour personal watercraft course.

Any vessel must have a life jacket for everyone on board. The life jackets must meet U.S. Coast Guard safety requirements, have a legible label, and be in good working order.
All vessels must have proper navigation lights for operating from sunset to sunrise or during times of reduced visibility during the day.
All boat operators must follow posted signs regarding slow or no wake zones, navigation markers, etc.
Anyone under age 13 on a vessel must wear a life jacket at all times unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
No one under age 12 can operate a boat unless they have someone age 18 or over to watch them. The older adult must have an SBC or CPWO.
People under age 16 can only operate a personal watercraft if they have a CPWO or the equivalent certification from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, or Rhode Island and are supervised by a person 18 or older who has a CPWO.
It is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana. The legal limit for operators is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher for those aged 21 or over. For those under age 21, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.02 percent.

Most Common Causes of Connecticut Boat Accidents

Boating in Connecticut offers picturesque views and thrilling adventures, but it comes with certain risks. Understanding the most common causes of boating accidents is crucial for both prevention and in seeking justice if someone injured you. Here are the key factors often at play in such incidents: 

Operator Inattention

Accidents frequently occur when the boat’s operator is not paying adequate attention to their surroundings, including other watercraft and environmental conditions.

Excessive Speed

High speeds on the water can lead to collisions or loss of control, especially in congested areas or during poor weather conditions.

Operator Inexperience

Inexperienced boaters may lack the necessary skills to navigate safely, leading to mistakes that can cause accidents.

Alcohol Use

Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is not only illegal but also significantly increases the risk of accidents due to impaired judgment and reaction times.

Equipment Failure

Mechanical issues or equipment failure, such as engine problems or faulty navigation tools, can lead to unexpected and dangerous situations.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Sudden changes in weather, like high winds or storms, can create hazardous conditions that increase the likelihood of accidents. If boat operators do not prepare for such situations, accidents can occur.

Violation of Navigation Rules

Ignoring boating laws and navigation rules can lead to collisions and other types of accidents.


Overloading a boat with too many passengers or too much gear can affect its stability and maneuverability, increasing the risk of capsizing or accidents.

Most Common Causes of Connecticut Boat Accidents

While less common than car crashes and some other accidents, boating accidents can cause catastrophic, even fatal, injuries. Injuries from a boating accident often include:  

Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
Traumatic brain injuries
Severed limbs from contact with the boat’s propellers or other machinery
Lacerations from the boat’s propellers or other components
Internal bleeding
Internal organ injuries
Severe burns
Broken bones
Sprains, strains, and other soft-tissue injuries
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Who’s Liable for a Boating Accident in Connecticut?

Identifying the liable parties is a crucial element of any boat accident claim, as you can’t recover compensation unless you know who caused your injuries. Depending on the circumstances, the liable parties in a boating accident may include:
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Boat Operators

The person operating the boat at the time of the accident may be liable if their negligence contributed to the accident. Some examples of boat operator negligence include not paying attention to surroundings, speeding, or operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Boat Owners

If the boat’s operator is different from the owner, the owner may be liable for accidents due to factors like inadequate maintenance, failure to provide proper safety equipment, or knowingly allowing an inexperienced person to operate the vessel.

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Boat Manufacturers

If the accident occurred due to a defect in the boat or its components, the manufacturer could be liable for failing to ensure the safety and reliability of their product.

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Maintenance or Repair Companies

Companies responsible for the maintenance or repair of the boat may be liable if their negligence or improper servicing contributed to the accident.

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Other Boaters

In accidents involving multiple vessels, other boat operators can be liable when their actions led to the collision.

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Marina or Dock Owners

Owners of marinas or docks may be liable for accidents caused by hazardous conditions like poor design, inadequate maintenance, or insufficient safety measures on their premises.

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Compensation from a New London, Connecticut, Boat Accident Claim

Your compensation from a boating accident claim depends on many factors, including the extent of your injuries and the potentially liable parties. With help from an experienced New London boat injury lawyer, you could recover compensation for the following losses: 

Past and future medical expenses
Lost wages or other income
Reduced future earnings due to a disability
Pain and suffering
Emotional distress
Diminished quality of life
Damaged personal property

Deadline to Start Maritime Injury Litigation

The Connecticut statute of limitations for personal injury claims says you have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. Speaking to a nautical injury attorney right away gives you the strongest chance of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries.

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Contact a Connecticut Boat Crash Lawyer Today

You have no time to lose if you want to the money you deserve after a boat accident. A Connecticut personal injury attorney from Holth & Kollman can take care of all the legal work in your case while you heal. Call us today or reach out online for a complimentary vessel accident legal consultation.

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