Boaters don’t generally regard rules of the
road as “maritime law”, but rather, as
essential boating knowledge. But there are
elements of maritime law that can come as an
unpleasant surprise to the injury victim. One
of these is the concept of limitation of
liability. In a boating accident, a defendant
may attempt to reduce the plaintiff's injury
award to the salvage value of the defendant’
s vessel.

This could be a frightening prospect if a
negligent boater collides with you at high
speed and, perish the thought, leaves you
seriously injured. Medical issues in a boating
accident is discussed further in
Medical
Issues in Marine Injuries - Boating Accident
Injuries .

If the defendant's vessel was a 1972 center
console worth $1,000 after the collision, does
that mean your injury award could be capped
at $1,000? It might not happen, but it is not
inconceivable. Before continuing with the
discussion of limitation of liability, you can
click the following to read about the
Causes
of Boating Accidents
We share our waterways with boaters of
varying levels of skill, thoughtfulness, anger,
and courtesy. With more boats out there, it
has become increasingly important for
everyone to operate their vessels safely to
prevent accidents. To learn about things you
should do if you are involved in a boating
accident, click
What to  do if You Are Involved
in a Boating Accident . It covers exchanging
marine registration information, filing boating
accident reports and other legal advice.

It sometimes comes as a surprise to pleasure
boaters that maritime law can apply to a
boating accident. After all, maritime law is
thought of as the realm of containerships,
tankers, tugboats, and vessels of a
commercial nature. However, a small sailboat
could find itself subjected to the same
maritime law as an ocean going tanker. A
maritime attorney familiar with the less
commonly known elements of boating law
understands how these elements can
undermine the rights of the injury victim if not
dealt with effectively.

Perhaps the most fundamental maritime laws
related to pleasure boating are the rules of
the road. To see a brief discussion of some of
the legal issues that are involved in a boating
accident, go to
Boating Accident Legal Issues.
In these pages, you can also learn how the
Coast Guard collects and analyzes boating
accident data and summarizes its findings in
annual reports.
Recreational Boating Accidents - Jet Skis - Personal Watercraft - Waterskiing
Injured on Navigable Waters - Kayaks - Canoes - Divers - Swimmers - Rental Boats - Charter Boats - Paddleboats
I was a lucky kid, growing up on Little Neck Bay on the western end of Long Island Sound. I
raced on Blue Jays at twelve, drove yacht club tenders at eighteen, and enjoyed a childhood I
wish more children could enjoy. Recreational boating has changed a lot since then. There are
more boats out there, many of them fast and powerful.
Bayside Power Squadron (a unit of the United States Power Squadrons) hosted
a presentation by maritime attorney Tim Akpinar at St. Anastasia’s Church in
Douglaston, New York on March 31, 2008. Tim spoke about legal issues
encountered by recreational boaters, such as marine salvage, general maritime
law and admiralty jurisdiction over pleasure boats, boating accident legal issues,
marine liens and other topics.
R/C Eugene Molteni and Lt/C Sharon Molteni (pictured at right with Tim) are
active members in the Power Squadron and are involved in furthering boating
education throughout the United States. Gene teaches a celestial navigation
class, one of the many squadron courses available.
The Aug '05 Boater's Digest contains the article, Basics
of  Marine Insurance, by Tim Akpinar. It offers a basic
overview of marine insurance, covering liability coverage,
physical damage, and additional aspects of insurance
coverage. It discusses how the insurance industry
categorizes vessels by size in designating what type of
marine policy is required. It also covers a few ways to
save money on boat insurance, such as boating safety
courses, safety equipment, higher deductibles and
realistic judgment in selecting a geographic scope in
which the vessel will operate.
Like many elements of maritime law, limitation of liability emerged with the intent of
encouraging commerce by limiting liability of vessel owners with factors outside their control.
Because a voyage on the high seas was an endeavor filled with risk and peril, much of maritime
law emerged to befriend the merchant. There are other legal concepts that are close to being
exclusively maritime in nature, such as vessel arrest, marine liens,
in rem jurisdiction, to name
a few. Unfortunately, injuries on the water aren't always fairly dealt with in this specialized
branch of law. Experienced maritime attorneys recognize this.

To learn more about how limitation of liability can hurt the rights of a boating accident plaintiff,
see
Defeating Limitation of Liability in Maritime Law. I wrote the piece for the Association of
Trial Lawyers of America. It discusses how the City of New York invoked limitation of liability in
the October 2003 crash of the Staten Island Ferry Andrew Barberi and how the concept can be
used against the pleasure boater plaintiff. Other legal issues will be covered in the future,
such as liability for ethanol damage to fiberglass gasoline fuel tanks, other legal remedies, boat
design legal issues and warranty issues.











Tim Akpinar Contact Information:                

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© February 2005 by Tim Akpinar

All Rights Reserved
The contents of this website may not be copied or transmitted without the prior written consent
of Tim Akpinar
Because the Supreme Court has qualified pleasure boating as
traditional maritime activity, unwary plaintiffs can find themselves
facing an array of arcane maritime law thrown at them by an aggressive
defendant. Federal courts have gone so far as to qualify a jet-ski
accident as subject to maritime law. If you sustained injuries in a
boating or diving accident and would like to learn more about your
rights, call. The consultation is free and confidential.
Click here to see article
from
Chesapeake Bay
Boating
- February '07
To Salvage or To Tow, by
Tim Akpinar. The article
discusses how maritime
law comes into play in
the difference between a
simple towing operation
and a traditional marine
salvage operation. It
covers the legal issues
that may arise in a
marine salvage claim.
Posted with the
permission of
Chesapeake Bay Boating.
Click Maritime Law and
Sailing, from the October
2005 issue of Windcheck,
by Tim Akpinar. It may
come as a surprise that
something on the scale of
a kayak, canoe, jet ski or
waterskiing accident can
fall under admiralty
jurisdiction and maritime
law. Posted with the
permission of Windcheck.
Boating registration and
education information

ALABAMA
Montgomery AL 251 981 2673
ALASKA
Anchorage AK 907 269 8705
AMERICAN SAMOA
Pago Pago AS 684 633 1111
ARIZONA
Phoenix AZ 602 789 3383
ARKANSAS
Little Rock AR 501 223 6379
CALIFORNIA
Sacramento CA 9162634326
COLORADO
Littleton CO 303 791 1954
CONNECTICUT
Old Lyme CT - 860 434 8638
DELAWARE
Dover DE 302 739 9913
Washington D.C.
Wash DC 202 727 4583
FLORIDA
Tallahassee FL 8504885600
GEORGIA
Social Circle GA 7709186408
GUAM
GMF Barrigada GU
6714758447HAWAII
Honolulu, HI 808 587 1966
Idaho
Boise ID 208 334 4180
ILLINOIS
Sterling IL 815 625 0086
INDIANA
Indianapolis IN 317 232 4010
IOWA
Des Moines IA 515 281 6154
KANSAS
Pratt KS 620 672 0758
KENTUCKY
Frankfort KY 502 564 3176
LOUISIANA
Bt Rouge LA 225 765 2987
MAINE (COASTAL)
Augusta ME 207 624 6555
MAINE (INLAND)
August ME 207 287 2766
MARYLAND
Annapolis MD 410 260 8881
MASSACHUSETTS
Hyannis MA 617 727 8760
MICHIGAN
Lansing MI 517 373 7109
MINNESOTA
St Paul MN  651 259 5362
MISSISSIPPI
Jackson MS  601 432 2185
MISSOURI
Jefferson City MO 573 751
3333
MONTANA
Helena MT  406 444 0136
NEBRASKA
Lincoln NE  402 471 5579
NEVADA
Reno NV  775 688 1542
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Gilford NH  603 293 0091
NEW JERSEY
W Trenton NJ 609 882 2000
NEW MEXICO
Santa Fe NM  505 476 3369
NEW YORK
Albany NY  518 474 0445
NORTH CAROLINA
Raleigh NC 919 707 0010
NORTH DAKOTA
Bismarck ND 701 3285 6312
NORTHERN MARIANA
ISLNDS
Saipan MP 670 664 9123
Boating registration and
education information
OHIO
Columbus OH 614 265 6476
OKLAHOMA
Barnsdall OK 918 847 2001
OREGON
Salem OR 503 378 2619
PENNSYLVANIA
Harrisburg PA  717 705 7830
PUERTO RICO
San Juan PR 787 724 2340
RHODE ISLAND
Providence RI 401 222
2284SOUTH CAROLINA
Columbia SC 803 734 4004
SOUTH DAKOTA
Pierre SD  605 773 2750
TENNESSEE
Nashville TN  615 781 6682
TEXAS
Austin TX 512 389 4624
UTAH
Salt Lake City UT 801 538
7341
VERMONT
Williston VT 802 878 7111
VIRGIN ISLANDS
St Thomas VI  340 774 3320
VIRGINIA
Richmond VA 804 367 6481
WASHINGTON
Olympia WA 360 586 6616
WEST VIRGINIA
Charleston WV  304 558 2784
WISCONSIN
Madison WI  608 264 8970
(718) 224-9824
timakpinarlawoffice@verizon.net

250-02 Northern Blvd - Suite 200
Little Neck, New York 11363

P.O. Box 620766
Little Neck, New York 11362

www.mycounsel.us
Florida Fish & Wildlife
Conservation
Commission
investigation of vessel
collision. Read more
about the
boating
accident and the USCG
response.
Learn more about Safe Boating
Week, a program aimed at
promoting awareness of safety
issues for recreational boaters and
avoiding accidents on the water.
It isn't always negligence...  some
boating accidents are litigated under
the theory of product liability.
In the January February 2008 issue of The Ensign,
magazine of the United States Power Squadron, Tim
covers some of the legal issues that face a maritime
attorney in the prosecution of a boating accident
lawsuit. These include limitation of liability,
presumptions in maritime law, and other issues
related to admiralty jurisdiction on navigable waters.
To learn more, click
Boating Accident Law, which is
offered as a reprint here with the permission of the
United States Power Squadron magazine
The Ensign.
Who is liable in an accident involving a
breakaway boat? Read about this recent
federal decision.
See Our Video
Learn More About Us
The duty to cooperate with the
insurance carrier... is it an absolute
duty? Tim covered this issue for
Long Island Boating World