JurisdictionUnited States
Publication year2021

§ 3.03 Recreational Boating and Boat Tour Accidents

Recreational boating is very popular in the U.S. and abroad and, on occasion, there are boating accidents which may result in wrongful death or less serious injuries. Here are examples of the types of accidents involving recreational boating.669

[1] Bad Weather Accidents

[a] The Aramark Case

In the case of In re Aramark Sports and Entertainment Ser vices LLC,670 the Court noted that Aramark was "a concessionaire for the U.S. National Park Service in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area [operating several marinas on Lake Powell including] Wahweap . . . Dangling Rope, Halls Crossing and Bullfrog. Aramark will rent a power boat to anyone who is eighteen years or older and has a valid driver's license. No previous boating experience is required. Lake Powell's main channel is 186 miles long when the lake is at high water. In the spring, the water is cold and the weather is frequently windy. The weather is erratic and can quickly change. In April, wind speeds often exceed thirty miles an hour and can reach fifty miles an hour. The weather can be calm at one part of the lake but have high winds and waves at another."

"In April 2009, the three couples (the Prescott Party) went on vacation together to Lake Powell . . . checked in the resort at the Wahweap Marina area (and) went to Aramark's boat rental office to rent a boat for the next day. . . . [A] rental agent for Aramark . . . discussed Mr. Brady's previous boating experience, the Prescott Party's plan to travel to Rainbow Bridge, which would take a full day, and the weather forecast for Saturday, April 25, the day (they) would be on the lake. The weather forecast was based on National Weather Service data collected at 3:44 a.m. that Friday morning predicted the weather on Saturday . . . 'Breezy . . . between 15 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph.' . . . Mr. Prescott was given a copy of the weather forecast [and told by the rental agent] that he would be given an updated weather report the next day before the Prescott Party departed on the boat. But this did not happen."

[i] The Rented Boat

The boat rented, Boat 647, was "just over twenty feet in length and can hold eight passengers. U.S. Coast Guard regulations do not require boats over twenty feet in length to have positive floatation, and Boat 647 did not. (A boat with positive floatation has the ability to float and not sink for a period of time even if filled with water.) Boat 647 had a...

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