Legal Guide

What Constitutes an Accident at Sea?

Working on a boat or simply enjoying a day at sea, can pose dangers. From waves that crest too high to weather that changes unexpectedly, to vessels that may need better maintenance, the reasons for accidents at sea are endless

What are the most common accidents at sea?

Many accidents can happen at sea, with catastrophic results in many cases. Here is a list of some examples of what constitutes an accident at sea:

Falling Overboard

When envisioning someone falling overboard, an image comes to mind of someone lost in the middle of the ocean. However, that is not the only place where these accidents can happen. People can fall between vessels while loading cargo or when handing fishing gear from the side of a boat. In these cases, rescuing someone that has fallen overboard means also endangering the lives of other crew members since rescue efforts tend to be complicated. As far as whoever has fallen, they face the risk of not only losing their lives but hypothermia and many other dangers.

Chemical Burns

Burns happen in boats’ engine rooms or galleys because workers might end up being in contact with extremely hot oil or exposed to harmful chemicals, as well as being in contact with hot fluids while cooking in a moving vessel.

Asphyxia and Poisoning

Working in small spaces such as cargo areas or storage rooms, access routes or chain lockers puts maritime workers at risk of being near toxic fumes where there is insufficient oxygen. Poisoning or asphyxia can easily happen.

Slip and Falls

It’s not uncommon for boats to have slippery decks. They may also be uneven or cluttered with a variety of objects. When slip and fall accidents occur, people may suffer concussions, injuries to their spinal cords, broken bones, and even death if they fall too close to the edge and go overboard.

Insufficient or Inadequate Training

Seamen need to know how to operate machinery, they also need to be trained on how to act in case of an emergency. Not knowing how to do either can have dire consequences.

Fishing Injuries

There are many possibilities for fishermen to get injured. From using defective equipment to falling overboard, lack of safety gear, or knifing injuries, many people suffer accidents every year.

Dock and Pier Accidents

Cargo that needs to be loaded or unloaded, narrow gangways, and heavy equipment, make the perfect combination for an accident. Moving vehicles that maneuver very close to the docking areas can also cause accidents and injure people.

What are the most common injuries suffered at sea?

Accidents at sea are very common and many could be prevented with proper training and safety gear, equipment that functions properly, and safe working environments. However, since that is not always the case, seamen suffer accidents such as:

Broken Bones - Whether from falling overboard, from slip and fall accident or any other causes, broken arms are legs are a common occurrence at sea.

Head Injuries - With a work environment that is in constant movement, head injuries are a constant for seamen. Although many may seem minor, they do need to be looked after.

Amputations - These devastating injuries mean that seamen will never be able to return to their jobs.

Have you or one of your loved ones suffered an accident at sea?

In order to understand your legal options, it may be helpful for you to consult with maritime lawyers to understand your rights under maritime law. Make an appointment today to get started.

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