charter fishing boat

Commercial Fishing Charter Boat Accident Injuries

Inexperienced staff, poorly maintained ships, and lack of safety equipment or training can turn an enjoyable day of fishing into a dangerous situation that leaves you seriously hurt. If you have been injured in a commercial fishing charter accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The maritime accident lawyers at Hofmann & Schweitzer have been fighting for the rights of people hurt in maritime accidents since 1977, with numerous multimillion-dollar settlements and awards. Contact a New York maritime accident lawyer to learn more about your legal rights. 

Commercial fishing charter boats dot the water off the East Coast every day. Fishermen can catch striped bass, tuna, rockfish, and porgy right off the shores of Long Island, New York City, Brooklyn, Cape May, Atlantic City, Brigantine, Belmar, and other locations. When you board one of these boats, you are placing immense faith in the captain and crew. If the boat’s owner, captain, or crew failed to uphold their duty of care, our attorneys can help you pursue a fair recovery. 

Five Types of Commercial Fishing Charter Boat Accidents

Some commercial fishing charter boat accidents that may result in injuries include:

1. Slip and Fall Accidents

There is always a risk of a slip and fall while you are out on the water. A wave may cause wet flooring, or you may lose your balance as the boat travels over a big wave. However, some slip and fall accidents are caused by the negligence of the boat’s owner, captain, or crew. For example:

  • Fishing equipment may be left on walking pathways
  • Blood and water from caught fish may not be cleaned up quickly
  • Guardrails or safety handles may be broken

These types of slip and fall accidents on commercial fishing charter boats may have been prevented if the owner, captain, or crew used reasonable care. Instead, their negligence left you with a head injury, broken bone, laceration, or other serious injury.

2. Collisions and Groundings

The waters around New York, New Jersey, and other crowded U.S. ports are extremely busy. There are pleasure boats, passenger ships, and commercial vessels. The charter boat captain must navigate around other vessels, taking care not to get too close to them. If the captain makes a mistake, the boat could collide with another vessel and cause a catastrophic maritime accident.

Additionally, the captain must take appropriate steps to avoid grounding in shallow waters.

The force of a collision or unintentional grounding can cause you to fall or crash into the boat, equipment, or other people. You could suffer a brain injury, broken bone, puncture wound, or another severe injury.

3. Choppy Seas

The sea can be choppy and rough at times. Commercial fishing boat captains are responsible for monitoring weather and water conditions and adjusting or canceling the charter fishing trip as necessary.  Choppy seas can cause passengers to fall on the boat or overboard when the vessel lurches. A fall may result in significant injuries including, but not limited to:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Drowning
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries

Rough seas can also cause passengers to become severely seasick. While this may be a temporary condition for most, seasickness can cause dehydration and more serious injuries for some. The crew must monitor guests’ health during the trip, especially when there are rough seas and passengers become ill. 

4. Fishing Equipment Accidents 

Commercial fishing charters often have a mix of experienced and novice fishermen. Fishing equipment is typically included in the passenger’s price. This equipment has sharp hooks that can cause severe lacerations and potentially serious infections if it is not used correctly. Accordingly, it’s essential for the crew to show passengers how to use the fishing equipment and to monitor their use throughout the trip.

Further, the deckhands or passengers could use sharp knives to cut fishing lines or the fish. These knives can result in the same types of injuries as the fishing equipment.

5.  Capsizing

Overloading, poor navigation, bad weather, and wave action can all cause a commercial fishing charter to overturn at sea, creating a dangerous and potentially fatal situation for everyone on the boat.

Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.