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Kentucky Boat and Watercraft Accident Lawyers

Kentucky is home to beautiful lakes and rivers, such as Cave Run Lake, Barren River Lake, Green River Lake, and the Ohio River. With a wide range of people – from vacationers to professional boat enthusiasts – traversing the water together, injuries are bound to happen. Sometimes these injuries can have a huge impact on your life. When this happens, you will want experienced Louisville personal injury lawyers to help you seek the compensation you deserve.

What’s a Watercraft?

Any vessel that travels on the water, whether motorized or not. Common types of watercraft used in Kentucky include:

  • Kayaks, canoes, and jet skis.
  • Recreational boats, yachts, and houseboats.
  • Commercial boats.

While boats must follow rigorous regulations, the rules for kayaks, canoes, jet skis, and other recreational watercraft are less stringent (and almost non-existent). Most of the time, people are free to use recreational watercraft without special licenses. This can be dangerous to everyone else in or on the water.

What Kinds of Accidents Happen?

According to the United States Coast Guard, common watercraft accidents include:

  • Capsizing
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Collision with object or vessel
  • Electrocution
  • Falling off watercraft
  • Explosion (fuel or non-fuel related)
  • Sinking
  • Grounding

According to the same report, these things usually happen because of:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Excessive speed
  • Operator inexperience
  • Alcohol/drug use
  • Hazardous weather
  • Navigation regulation violation
  • Machinery failure
  • Sudden medical condition


Kentucky’s legislation states that watercraft owners can be liable for injuries if they are due to the owner’s negligence. It is illegal to operate watercraft in a reckless or dangerous manner.

Negligent acts can include:

  • Dangerously maneuvering the boat or vessel.
  • Operating a boat or vessel that is overloaded.
  • Using alcohol or drugs while operating.
  • Violating other regulations, whether deliberate or accidental.

Here are some Kentucky regulations for boat operators:

  • Adjust speed according to traffic in the water.
  • Stay at least 50 feet away from a commercial boat and its tow.
  • Maintain a “no wake” speed (less than 5 mph) in areas marked “no wake.”
  • Do not go in restricted areas, such as above or below navigation, power-generating, and flood-control dams.

Ignoring these regulations can be considered negligence. If a negligent act results in injury or death, the person who acted may be liable. Compensation for the victim can include lost wages, property damage, and medical expenses.

Because the Ohio River runs through other states, some other regulations may apply in certain areas. For this reason, it’s important to receive legal advice from an attorney who is familiar with Louisville and surrounding areas.

Call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC to Learn More

As you can see, watercraft liability is complicated. We at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have experience navigating tricky cases and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. If you feel you have a watercraft injury case, contact us at (502) 458-5555 for a free case evaluation – no fees are charged unless we win or settle your case!

Related Resources:

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