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Product Liability Lawyers reviewing boat defect lawsuits and other consumer protection cases
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Defective Boat Lawyer

Product Liability Litigation: Recalled & Defective Boats

When people purchase a recreational boat or other watercraft for tens of thousands of dollars, they should feel confident and safe. Unfortunately, thousands of defective boats are manufactured each year. Whether you have been hurt in an accident due to faulty design or defective materials, our defective product lawyers can help you recover the damages you deserve.

Class Action Product Liability Lawyers investigating boat defects that lead to accidents, injuries and property loss. Contact our firm to discuss potential legal action.

Defective Boats are produced every year and may take time for certain boat defects to be discovered. Boat recalls are issued each year, but oftentimes after accidents happen and after owners incur large financial losses on safety repairs.

Like automobiles, boat manufacturers produce new models each year. And like automobiles, new defects are found. But unlike motor vehicles, boats do not have the same occupant safety or crash avoidance systems. There are almost zero formal requirements for boat manufacturers to design the interior aspects of boats in such a way that injuries are prevented in the event of an accident.

Of course boat defects go beyond just safety features. Almost any boat repair will cost owners a good deal of money and we believe boat manufacturers should either pay for these repair costs or replace the boat.

If you are a boat owner and suffer from a boat poorly built and plagued with a poor design, contact our firm to discuss possible compensation.

Joe Lyon is a product recall lawyer fighting for consumer rights and litigating product liability cases  throughout the country. Call for a free consultation.

Boat Defect Lawsuits

A seven-year-old died in 2014 when the boat he was on at a lake in Georgia hit a wave. The bow of the Malibu boat swamped and allegedly dipped under its own wake, causing it to take on water and washing the child overboard. In an attempt to prevent the boat from sinking, the driver put the boat in reverse. The child was cut by the propeller and died as a result of drowning and blood loss.

A lawsuit filed by the family claimed negligence by Malibu Boats, who designed the boats and tested them. A jury awarded the family $200 million.

In another alleged boat defect accident, a California woman suffered a severe head injury when she was knocked overboard and struck in the head by the propeller multiple times. A 2011 lawsuit against MasterCraft blames a defective design and inadequate testing. A jury found MasterCraft 80 percent at fault in that accident and the woman was awarded $30 million.

At The Lyon Firm, we have years of experience representing people injured by defective products. We understand the complexity of product liability law and its many challenges. If you or a loved one have been harmed by a defective watercraft, you need aggressive representation and compassionate guidance throughout the claims process.

We are a law firm representing individuals nationwide in defective product litigation. Call (513) 381-2333 to schedule a free consultation and arrange an evaluation of your case.


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Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

Types of Defective Boats

Boats have been recalled in the last couple years for the following “problems,” as listed by the US Coast Guard:

  • Fuel system
  • Capacity label
  • Ventilation
  • Floatation test
  • Engine
  • Safe Loading max
  • Steering interference
  • Cracks in hull
  • Exhaust system
  • Instability
  • Lighting
  • Electrical

Recent Boat Recalls have included the following manufacturers:

  • Malibu
  • Mercury Marine
  • Sea Ray Boats
  • Legend Craft Boats
  • Lund Boats
  • Mastercraft
  • Lowe Boats
  • Sea Pro Boats
  • Tracker Marine
  • Pure Watercraft
  • Vexus
  • Cobalt Boats
  • Sea Ray

photo of a motor boat in a lake

Safety Checks? A Boat Defect Investigation

In response to the lawsuits and boat defect reports mentioned above, investigative reporters at NBC Washington wrote an report on small craft advisory and potentially dangerous boat industry practices. As the defective boat investigation notes, the manufacturers targeted in the lawsuits never admitted fault, but the cases may have exposed potential weaknesses in the boating industry and its safety oversight, especially regarding the design and testing of boats.

The journalists uncovered concerns held by executives at Malibu Boats over the design of the boat in which the 7-year-old was killed. Such concerns focused on a design change that added seats to the bow, in turn adding more weight at the bow–more weight than it was originally designed for.

The NBC also raised questions about current regulations that permit manufacturers to conduct testing of their own watercraft, rather than a third party or a government agency like the U.S. Coast Guard. As it stands, the U.S. Coast Guard’s only authority over recreational boats is concerned with safety equipment kept on board. So in the boating industry, with little or no oversight, it seems like safety standards are almost voluntary.

With that said, consumers have the option to get their boat inspected by both the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons, who have certified vessel examiners who will perform a free Vessel Safety Check. There is no charge, and no consequences if you don’t pass.

Can I File a Boat Defect Lawsuit?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center, there were around 11 million registered recreational boats in the United States in 2020. The safety of a good portion of these boats is in question, due to both proper maintenance by consumers and to original boat safety design.

Sometimes the best remedies for defective boats is litigation. It is by no means the easiest, but if you want proper compensation and want to hold a negligent company accountable for the harm they have caused, contact our lawyers for a free consultation.

Consider first making a list of the specific defects you have experienced by date. If you identify a number of serious problems and there is no easy solution, you might have a defective boat.

If you purchased a new boat, it likely came with a warranty and a second-hand purchaser may have valid a warranty if properly transferred. If the warranty’s conditions are met, a boat owner’s first recourse is usually through the warranty. Whatever the boat defect, consider contacting the dealer and seeking repair under the warranty. Get all documentation in writing, take photos of the before and after repair and save the evidence.

What Qualifies as a Defective Boat?

Improper design and the improper use of materials are the primary causes of most watercraft structural failures. Defective or unsafe aftermarket product outfitting also has huge legal implications in the boating world. Recent accidents have resulted in personal injury lawsuits that target manufacturers. In one case, a poor forward railing system design allegedly caused a death of motorist when the boat crashed. Attorneys representing the family settled the case that argued the manufacturer had a duty to consider injury mitigation and safer design features.

A boat may qualify as defective when it is used properly but presents an unreasonable risk of harm. Proper use must be established for your claim to qualify as a defective boat case. If a particular watercraft fails to provide adequate instructions or warnings, you may have a “failure to warn defect.”

Recreational Boats are deemed defective when they pose an unreasonable risk of injury. What a court considers to be an unreasonable risk of harm is usually found by comparing similar boats and circumstances in other cases.

  • Manufacturing defect: During the manufacturing process, products that are alike in make and model should look identical. When a product differs in some way from the others, it may be due to an error during the creation of the product. Such errors can present safety risks.
  • Design defect: A design defect describes a product that is harmful despite being manufactured and used properly. Design defects refer to items that are inherently dangerous by the way they are designed or conceptualized.
Cincinnati Defective Products Attorney


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Why Choose the Lawyers at The Lyon Firm?

The consumer safety lawyers at The Lyon Firm are nationally-recognized. We have represented thousands of clients across the U.S. against some of the largest organizations in the world:

  • We have represented clients in over 40 multidistrict litigations in federal and state court
  • We have recovered 7 figure results across multiple areas of practice
  • Many of our cases have received national attention for their importance to public health

Lead Attorney Joseph Lyon founded his firm on compassionate consumer advocacy. His dedication to clients is unparalleled, regularly meeting them in their homes, hospitals, and family celebrations. During a recent case, he drove over 6,000 miles for investigative work and client meetings.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries due to a defective boat, let our award-winning litigation team recover the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case today by calling (513) 381-2333.