power boat speeding on open waterThe waters around New York City and the Jersey Shore offer ample opportunity for recreational boaters to go on pleasure cruises and enjoy the scenery. Whether you are exploring New York Harbor, the Hudson River, or Barnegat Bay, there is nothing better than a day spent on the water with friends and family. Unfortunately, these idyllic days are often tragically interrupted by careless and reckless boaters who cause accidents that leave innocent passengers and occupants of other boats seriously injured and fighting for their lives.

If you were the victim of a boating accident in New York or New Jersey, you need an injury lawyer who understands maritime injury law. Contact Hofmann & Schweitzer in Manhattan with your recreational boating accident questions.

Common Types of Boating Accidents in the Waterways of New York and New Jersey

Recreational boating accidents are unfortunately not uncommon, and understanding the types and causes of these incidents is crucial for ensuring a safer maritime experience. Given that training and licensing are not required to operate a powerboat capable of speeds in excess of 60mph, it’s not surprising that accidents happen frequently in the waters between New York and New Jersey.

Here, we explore some of the most common types of recreational boating accidents, the factors that contribute to them, and the potential injuries that may result. Most boating-related injuries are caused by one of the following types of accidents.

Collision Accidents

Collisions can occur between boats, with stationary objects, or even with swimmers. Factors such as operator inattention, speeding, navigational errors, and alcohol impairment contribute to collision accidents. Injuries may range from minor cuts and bruises to more severe injuries like fractures, concussions, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Drowning is also a significant risk in collision accidents, especially if passengers are thrown overboard.


Capsizing can result from overloading the boat, sudden shifts in weight, or adverse weather conditions. Rough waters, high winds, and improper loading contribute to the risk of capsizing. Injuries may include head injuries, broken bones, and lacerations. If individuals are trapped underwater during the capsizing, there is a risk of drowning.

Falls Overboard

Falls overboard often occur due to operator error, excessive speed, or sudden maneuvers. Slippery or unstable deck surfaces also contribute to the risk. Injuries can range from minor bumps and bruises to more severe consequences, including head injuries, fractures, and hypothermia if the individual is not promptly rescued.


Grounding happens when a boat runs aground, often due to navigational errors, low water levels, or operator inattention. Injuries may result from the impact, including broken bones or head injuries. Additionally, passengers may be at risk of falling or being thrown overboard during the grounding.

Fire and Explosion

Fires and explosions can be caused by fuel leaks, electrical malfunctions, or improper storage of flammable materials on board. Injuries may include burns, smoke inhalation, and trauma from the force of the explosion. Severe burns can result in long-term physical and emotional consequences.

Propeller Injuries

Propeller accidents can occur when individuals fall overboard or swim in close proximity to a boat with a running engine. Injuries often involve deep lacerations, amputations, or severe trauma to the limbs. Propeller injuries can be life-threatening and may require immediate medical attention.

Alcohol-Related Accidents

Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is a significant factor in accidents. Impaired judgment and coordination increase the risk of collisions, falls overboard, and other incidents. Alcohol-related accidents can result in any number of injuries, and far too often, they result in fatalities.

Boaters should adhere to safety regulations, receive proper training, and remain vigilant to ensure that their time on the water is not only enjoyable but also safe for all involved.

All Kinds of Boats Are Involved in Tragic Accidents

Just being on the water exposes you to risk from a careless boater, regardless of the type of boat you are on or the boating activity you are enjoying. Swimmers and sailors are probably the most vulnerable to being plowed into by a powerboat, but fishing boats, water ski boats, luxury yachts, and personal watercraft have all been involved in serious accidents in our area. If another boater’s negligence caused the accident that left you injured, you deserve to be fully compensated for the damage that has been done.

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