One of the more unusual
elements of maritime law to
be encountered in boating
accidents is limitation of
liability. It 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.

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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.
(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
It isn't always negligence...  some
boating accidents are litigated under
the theory of product liability.
See Our Video
Learn More About Us
In The Ensign, magazine of the
United States Power Squadron, Tim
covers legal issues for a maritime
attorney in a boating accident
lawsuit. These include limitation of
liability, presumptions in maritime
law, and admiralty jurisdiction on
navigable waters. To learn more,
click
Boating Accident Law .
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 Mar. 31, 2008
.
R/C Eugene Molteni and Lt/C Sharon
Molteni, pictured here 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.
Article from
Chesapeake Bay
Boating -
To
Salvage or To Tow
,
where Tim
discusses how
maritime law comes
into play in the
difference between
a simple towing
operation and a
traditional marine
salvage operation.
In Boater's Digest,
Tim covers the
Basics of  Marine
Insurance . It offers
a basic overview of
marine insurance,
covering liability
coverage, physical
damage, and
additional aspects
of insurance
coverage.
We share our waterways with
boaters of varying levels of
skill, thoughtfulness, and
courtesy. With more boats
out there, it is 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 things to
do after a boating accident.

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 container
ships, 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.
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
Recreational Boating Accidents - Jet Skis - Personal Watercraft - Waterskiing
Injured on Navigable Waters - Kayaks - Canoes - Divers - Swimmers - Rental Boats - Charter Boats - Paddleboats
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
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
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.
The duty to cooperate with the
insurance carrier... is it an absolute
duty? Tim covered this issue for
Long
Island Boating World
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.
Click Maritime Law
and Sailing, from
Windcheck, where
Tim discusses
federal jurisdiction
and other maritime
law issues in
boating accidents.
The insurance
industry treats
vessels by size in
designating what
type of marine
policy is required.