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Flint Boat Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you know was hurt in a boating accident in Flint, Michigan, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Christopher Trainor & Associates to find out more about your options.

Michigan's lakes provide the perfect setting for boating enthusiasts. There are few things more fun or relaxing than going out on our beautiful waters for a day of recreation. Most people who live in Michigan thoroughly enjoy boating. Unfortunately, there is always a risk involved with recreation on the water, and that risk is compounded by the number of tourists that visit each year.

Even the most experienced boat enthusiasts are susceptible to accidents. There are plenty of inexperienced or negligent boat operators on our waterways, unfortunately. The vast majority of boating accidents occur due to operator error, and their mistakes can cause serious destruction in the lives of those who get injured.

The Flint boat accident lawyers at Christopher Trainor & Associates know you may be reeling following a boating accident, unsure of your rights or what you should do next. We want you to know you don’t have to deal with this situation alone. We are here to help.

Michigan Boating Accident Statistics

According to the United States Coast Guard, there were more than 4000 boating accidents in the US in 2022. This resulted in 2,222 reported injuries and 636 deaths. 75% of these fatalities were caused by drowning. With the Great Lakes making up 90% of freshwater in the United States and with the many other rivers and bodies of water nearby, it's no surprise that we see many of those accidents in our beautiful state.

Flint Boating Laws and Regulations

Though it may seem like an open waterway is the perfect place to run wild, boaters must obey maritime laws and regulations just like they must do when operating a motor vehicle on our roadways.

You might be surprised to find out that unlike cars, trucks, and motorcycles, which require a driver to be 16 years old and licensed in order to operate, children are legally allowed to drive a motorboat before they even reach the age of 12. Children under the age of 12 can operate a boat equipped with a motor of no more than 6 horsepower, but if they have received a boating safety certificate and are supervised by someone aged 16 or older, they are permitted to operate a boat with a motor of up to 35 horsepower.

In Michigan, including Flint, boating laws and regulations are governed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and overseen by the Waterways Commission. These laws also apply to personal watercrafts (PWCs) such as jet skis, wave runners, and water scooters. Some key laws and regulations include:

  • Alcohol and Boating: It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Michigan. The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for operating a boat is the same as for operating a vehicle, which is 0.08%.
  • Life Jackets: All vessels must be equipped with an approved life jacket or other personal flotation device for each person on board. Children under the age of 6 must wear a life jacket while on any vessel that is underway.
  • Speed Limits: Speed limits, similar to roadways, vary depending on the waterway. In general, operators must operate their vessels at a safe speed for the conditions at hand and at no more than 55mph.
  • Boat Registration: All motorized vessels must be registered within the state of Michigan if being used on Michigan waterways.
  • Personal Watercraft (PWC) Regulations: PWC operators must follow specific regulations, including maintaining a safe distance from other vessels, obeying no-wake zones, and not operating between sunset and sunrise.
  • Environmental Regulations: There are also regulations in place to protect our waters and wildlife. These encompass things like not introducing non-native species to the waters and properly disposing of waste.

Boaters need to familiarize themselves with all applicable laws and regulations before heading out on the water. If you are unsure of how these regulations may impact your case, contact one of the Flint boat accident lawyers at Christopher Trainor & Associates to learn more.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can occur due to various factors, many of which are preventable. Some common causes of boating accidents include:

  • Operator Inattention or Inexperience: Operator inattention, distraction, or lack of experience can lead to accidents, especially in busy waterways or during adverse weather conditions where a boater may not know how to safely navigate their craft.
  • Excessive Speed: Operating a boat at excessive speeds, especially in crowded areas or unfamiliar waters, increases the risk of collisions with other vessels, objects, or shorelines.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use: Alcohol is the number one cause of boating accidents in the United States. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, which significantly increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • Weather Conditions: Boating in adverse weather conditions such as high winds, rough waters, fog, or storms can make navigation difficult and increase the risk of accidents.
  • Equipment Failure: Malfunctioning or poorly maintained equipment, including engines, steering systems, and navigational aids, can lead to accidents, breakdowns, or fires.
  • Reckless or Careless Operation: Reckless or careless behavior, such as weaving through traffic, jumping wakes, or engaging in horseplay, can increase the risk of accidents and endanger passengers and other boaters.
  • Lack of Proper Navigation Lights: Failing to use proper navigation lights during periods of reduced visibility, such as at night or in fog, can lead to collisions with other vessels.
  • Failure to Follow Rules and Regulations: Ignoring boating laws and regulations, such as speed limits, right-of-way rules, or safety equipment requirements, can result in accidents and legal consequences.

Boating accidents can have serious consequences, including injuries, fatalities, property damage, and environmental harm. Boaters need to prioritize safety, stay vigilant, and follow all applicable laws and guidelines to minimize the risk of accidents on the water.

If someone else failed to follow Michigan laws and regulations, resulting in a boating accident where you suffered injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Christopher Trainor & Associates can walk you through the claims process so that you can get your life back.

Reducing the Risk of Fatal Boating Accidents

Reducing the risk of fatal boating accidents involves a combination of preparation, caution, and adherence to safety guidelines. Here are some key steps you can take:

  1. Wear a life jacket: Make sure everyone on board wears a properly fitted life jacket, especially if you're in open waters or if the weather is rough.
  2. Educate yourself: Take a boating safety course to learn about navigation rules, handling emergencies, and other essential skills.
  3. Check the weather: Before heading out, check weather forecasts and be aware of any warnings or advisories. Avoid boating in severe weather conditions.
  4. Avoid alcohol and drugs: Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly increases the risk of accidents. Always designate a sober operator.
  5. Follow navigation rules: Know and obey boating regulations, including speed limits, right-of-way rules, and navigational markers.
  6. Maintain your boat: Regularly inspect your boat for any mechanical issues or safety hazards. Ensure that all equipment, including life jackets, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights, is in good working condition.
  7. File a float plan: Let someone know your planned route and expected return time. This information can be crucial in case of an emergency.
  8. Mind your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of other boats, swimmers, and hazards in the water. Avoid distractions like excessive speed or using electronic devices while operating the boat.
  9. Stay informed: Be sure to keep an eye on any changes to rules and regulations so that you can be sure you are operating your vessel safely and legally at all times.

By following these guidelines and exercising caution, you can help reduce the risk of fatal boating accidents and ensure a safer boating experience for everyone on board.

Common Injuries in Flint, Michigan Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can result in a variety of injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death. Some common injuries in boating accidents include:

  • Drowning: This is one of the most serious and potentially fatal injuries in boating accidents. Drowning does not always result in death, but even when it doesn’t, the lack of oxygen in the body can cause serious damage to internal organs, including permanent brain damage.
  • Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur due to collisions with other boats, fixed objects, or falls on the boat. These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain trauma.
  • Lacerations and bruising: Sharp objects on the boat or in the water can cause cuts and bruising. These injuries can vary in severity depending on the force of impact and the location of the injury.
  • Bone fractures: The impact of a collision or fall can lead to fractures or breaks in bones, such as the arms, legs, ribs, or spine.
  • Sprains and strains: Sudden movements or falls can cause injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, resulting in sprains or strains.
  • Back and spinal injuries: Falls or impacts can cause injuries to the back and spinal cord, ranging from strains and sprains to more severe spinal cord damage.
  • Burns: Fires or explosions on the boat can cause burns, which can range from minor to life-threatening, depending on the extent of the injury.
  • Hypothermia: Accidents involving immersion in cold water can lead to hypothermia, which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, leading to a dangerous drop in body temperature.
  • Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma from collisions or falls can cause internal injuries to organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys.
  • Emotional trauma: Boating accidents can also result in emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression in those who were involved in the accident and those who may have witnessed it.

It's important to seek medical attention promptly after a boating accident, even for seemingly minor injuries, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. If you suffered an injury in a boating accident in Flint, Michigan, contact Christopher Trainor & Associate for your free consultation.

What to do After a Boat Accident

You may not know what to do after a serious boating accident, especially if you or a loved one has been injured. It is imperative to stay calm and take the following steps:

  1. Determine if anyone is missing: If you were involved in a collision, evaluate your surroundings and take a head count to see if anyone was thrown overboard. If you see someone in the water, throw them a floatation device and call for help. Attempting to jump in and save them yourself may lead to your own drowning or injury.
  2. Administer first aid: It can sometimes take a while for help to arrive, so do your best to administer care to anyone who was injured in the accident if you are safely able to do so.
  3. Exchange information: Get the insurance and contact information from the operators of any other boats involved, as well as from any eyewitnesses. This can help you later in filing your claim.
  4. Document the accident: Take photos and video of the scene of the accident, including any damage done to the boat and any injuries. This, too, can serve as valuable evidence if you need to make a claim.
  5. File a report: If you've been involved in an accident, you must file a report with the Coast Guard. Be sure to hold on to a copy of the report for your records. If authorities respond to the accident, they will most likely file the report.
  6. Call an attorney: The sooner you call a local Flint boat accident lawyer, the better chance you have of a favorable outcome for your compensation claim.

We understand that this is a very scary time for you, especially if you or a family member have been seriously injured. Christopher Trainor & Associates are here to make this process as easy as possible so that you can focus on the things that really matter.

Determining Liability

Liability in a Flint boating accident can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident and the laws of the jurisdiction where it occurred. There can also be potentially more than one liable party, and your Flint boat accident lawyer will make sure to name any responsible parties as defendants in a personal injury claim. Here are some parties who may be found liable in a boating accident:

  • Boat operator: The person operating the boat may be held liable if their negligence, recklessness, or violation of boating laws contributed to the accident. This could include actions such as speeding, operating the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or failing to maintain a proper lookout.
  • Boat owner: In some cases, the owner of the boat may be held liable for the actions of the operator, especially if they knowingly allowed someone inexperienced or unfit to operate the boat, or if they failed to properly maintain the boat.
  • Manufacturer or seller: If the accident was caused by a defect in the boat or its components, such as faulty steering or engine problems, the manufacturer or seller of the boat or parts may be held liable under product liability laws.
  • Rental company: If the boat involved in the accident was rented or leased, the rental company may be held liable if they failed to properly maintain the boat, provide necessary safety equipment, or screen renters for experience and competence.
  • Other negligent parties: Depending on the circumstances, other parties may also be found liable for a boating accident. This could include passengers who interfered with the operation of the boat, owners of other vessels involved in a collision, or individuals or entities responsible for maintaining navigational aids or warning signs.
  • Government agencies: In some cases, liability for a boating accident may also extend to government agencies responsible for regulating boating activities, maintaining waterways, or providing safety information and warnings if their negligence contributed to the accident.

Determining liability in a boating accident can be complex and may require investigation by authorities, insurance companies, or legal experts. It's essential to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who specializes in maritime law to understand your rights and options if you've been involved in a boating accident.


We know that money can't fix everything, but being compensated for your injuries can go a long way toward easing the financial burden created by being involved in a boating accident. Compensation in personal injuries matters generally comes in two forms: Economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages include things that have a direct monetary value like:

  • Medical bills: This covers hospital and ER costs, surgeries, physical therapy, and other medical bills directly involving the cost of administering first aid.
  • Lost wages: You may have to take time off work to heal from your injuries, resulting in lost wages.
  • Property damage: This covers damage done to your boat or any other property damaged as a result of the boat accident.
  • Burial expenses: If you lost a loved one in a boating accident, you may be able to receive compensation for the funeral and burial costs.

Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value, as there generally isn't a receipt to show how much, for example, "mental anguish" is worth. You will need the help of a Flint boat accident lawyer to get the most compensation for these types of damages, including:

  • Mental anguish: This includes things like PTSD, anxiety, or depression caused by the accident.
  • Pain and Suffering: You may be able to receive compensation for the pain you experienced following the boat crash.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: If you are no longer able to find joy in the things you did before the accident, you may be able to receive compensation.
  • Loss of consortium: If you lost your spouse in a recreational boating accident, you could be compensated for the loss of companionship.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in the state of Michigan, including claims involving a boating accident, is three years from the time of the incident. Since these claims often take months to resolve, it is advised to speak with a boat accident lawyer as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.

How a Flint Boating Accident Attorney Can Help

Following a Flint boating accident, a lawyer can help injury victims in many ways. At Christopher Trainor & Associates, here are the ways we will help:

  1. Legal guidance: Boat accident attorneys specialize in maritime law and understand the nuances and complexities of these cases. We can provide expert legal advice tailored to your specific situation, helping you understand your rights and options under the law.
  2. Investigation: We can conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident, gathering evidence such as witness statements, accident reports, and expert opinions to build a strong case on your behalf.
  3. Determining liability: We can analyze the facts of the case to determine who may be liable for the accident. We help identify potentially responsible parties and pursue legal action against them to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
  4. Negotiation with insurance companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be complex and challenging, especially if they try to minimize your claim or deny liability. Boat accident attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance companies and can advocate for your rights to ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.
  5. Litigation representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, Christopher Trainor & Associates is prepared to take your case to court. We will represent you in legal proceedings and fight for the compensation you deserve.
  6. Maximizing compensation: Boat accident attorneys have a clear understanding of your rights and the damages you may be entitled to. We will work diligently to maximize your compensation and help you rebuild your life after the accident.
  7. Providing support and advocacy: Throughout the legal process, we will provide compassionate support and advocacy for our clients. We will handle the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.

Hiring a Flint boat accident lawyer from Christopher Trainor & Associates can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case and securing the compensation you need to move forward with your life after a boating accident.

Contact a Flint Boat Accident Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Flint boating accident, you and your family members may be wondering what you need to do next. As you navigate this complex process, our skilled attorneys will be with you every step of the way. We know our way around personal injury cases and are here to help. Call Christopher Trainor & Associates at 248-886-8650 for your free consultation today.


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