Boats have been recalled in the last couple years for the following “problems,” as listed by the US Coast Guard:
Recent Boat Recalls have included the following manufacturers:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.