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Lax boating laws in California put boaters in serious danger

Many people across California have already gotten out on the water in their boats this summer. The lakes and open water are often populated with fishers, skiers and sailors all summer long and it should be a fun and relaxing experience. However, lax state laws in California are making the waterways dangerous destinations for people.

Unlike many other states, California laws do not require boaters to have a license to operate the boat. Operators can be as young as 12 and have no training or education whatsoever and still be permitted to get behind the wheel of a boat. But many people are concerned that without more restrictions and education for boaters, the frequency of serious boating accidents will continue to rise. 

Some areas in California, including the waterways between the Sierra Mountains and the San Francisco Bay, are seeing a significant increase in boating accidents year after year. In fact, there are more boating accidents in California than there are in nearly every state. The only state with more boating crashes is Florida. 

These accidents aren't necessarily happening because people are breaking the laws on the water. Rather, there are too many uneducated, inexperienced and reckless people who are permitted to operate a boat on the water. Often times, these are the drivers who are not paying attention to the water in front of them and end up causing a serious accident.

Even though these negligent boaters may not be breaking any laws, they can still be held accountable for the damages that are caused by their behavior. Victims of a boating accident and their families can pursue civil damages in the form of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after a serious accident. Doing so can help victims recover the compensation they deserve and hold reckless or negligent boaters responsible for their actions. 

Source: NBC Bay Area, "Lax Laws, Boating Accidents Rise in CA," Elyce Kirchner, Kevin Nious and Felipe Escamilla, July 9, 2013