Surrounded by the beauty of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, Michigan residents live in an ideal place for pleasure and commercial boating activities. Michigan’s extensive inland coastline (2,147 miles) is second only to Alaska. As a result of this geographic good fortune, boating plays a major role in Michigan business and culture. For many, boating is a way of life.

Unfortunately, however, boating can be dangerous. The possibility of personal injury or death is always present. Persons who are injured in boating accidents, either on a merchant vessel or a pleasure boat, may be eligible for financial compensation. Accidents that occur on the water are covered under a unique and specific set of legal rules and regulations known as Admiralty or Maritime Law.

In this video, Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer Tom Sinas discusses Michigan boating laws and how to stay safe while you’re on the water.

Commercial Boating Accidents

The owners and operators of commercial vessels have the responsibility to ensure that the ship or boat is in good operating condition and that it is piloted safely. When these responsibilities are not complied with and an accident resulting in injury or death occurs, those responsible may have legal liability. These cases frequently involve questions such as whether the boat was properly manned, whether the seamen on board were properly trained, whether the boat was properly maintained, or whether the boat operator followed standard protocol in the operation of the vessel.

Private Boating Accidents

Where injury occurs as a result of a private boating accident, the owner or operator of the private boat may have legal liability. These cases frequently involve questions of whether the operator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating the boat, whether the boat was properly equipped with safety equipment, including life jackets, or whether the boat was properly maintained.

The Need for Competent Representation

Any person sustaining injury as a result of the use of a private or commercial ship or boat should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney familiar with this area of law. The attorneys at the Sinas Dramis Law Firm have the experience you need and are ready to answer any questions you may have regarding your boating injury case. Understanding the law is the first step to protecting your rights. In this section, we help you to know the law on Michigan boating injuries.