While days on the water are often relaxing experiences, novice boaters can cause devastating accidents. If you were recently involved in watercraft crash, you may benefit from contacting a Creve Coeur boat accident lawyer to discuss what happened.

Rather than trying to handle filing a civil claim for damages on your own, allow a legal professional to take over your legal tasks. An experienced injury attorney could help build a personalized claim to seek compensation for your unique situation.

Boat License Laws in Missouri

To legally operate a watercraft in Missouri, residents must have a boating license. In light of the increasing number of boating-related deaths state-wide, the government created a new license law in 2005. As of that year, any potential boater born after January 1, 1984 must take a boat education class and pass the knowledge test, which must be certified by the state’s water patrol division and approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The license given to boaters who pass the exam must remain on board their vessels during all water activities.

However, there are certain exceptions to this licensing requirement, such as during watercraft operation on a private pond or lake, or when the boater has an exemption from the water patrol. Those with a masters license from the coast guard also do not need to take the boater education course or test.

Failure to keep the card on board or have a license can result in legal penalties. Furthermore, if it is found the party responsible for a collision on the water did not have the proper license, a local attorney could hold them liable for all resulting damage.

Types of Boating Accidents

Seasoned lawyers from the area have handled cases stemming from a variety of watercraft accidents on local waterways, including wrecks caused by:

  • Intoxicated boaters
  • Speeding
  • Reckless boating, such as weaving through a high-traffic area
  • Jumping wakes or behaving carelessly in a no-wake zone
  • Watercraft operation in poor weather

To learn more about what could cause a nautical wreck, talk to a trusted legal team as soon as possible.

Watercraft Safety Regulations

Not only does state law require boaters to have the appropriate licensing to operate a watercraft, it also mandates boating safety regulations. Boaters who violate these regulations and cause a collision with another vessel could be found legally negligent by a local attorney.

According to the Handbook of Missouri Boating Laws & Responsibilities issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there are strict guidelines about how boaters should handle encounters with other watercrafts. When a boater operates a sailboat, they must give way to any commercial fishing vessel, watercraft not under anyone’s command, and any vessel with maneuverability limitations. Motorized boats must give way to sailboats except in overtaking circumstances, as well as boats with no operator, commercial fishing boats, and large boats with navigation difficulties.

The state also outlines vessel safety requirements regarding personal floatation devices (PFDs). For example, any boat 16 feet or longer must have a wearable USCG–approved PFD for each person aboard. Children under seven years old must wear PFDs at all times, with all PFDs on the vessel being in good condition.

A local attorney could inform someone further on the safety regulations for watercraft vessels.

Speak with a Creve Coeur Boat Accident Attorney Today

If you wish to file personal injury charges following a boating incident, you have five years to do so according to Missouri Code §516.120. Rather than waiting to find out if you are eligible for damages, you should contact a boat accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Our team of legal professionals are here to help you after suffering harm at the hands of a negligent or novice watercraft operator. Call our firm today to learn more.