Commercial Fishing Boat Accident Attorney

Commercial Fishing Boat Accident Attorney

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), commercial fishing is a dangerous and challenging work environment. Numerous types of vessels operate in the commercial fishing industry, and they can vary in configuration, size, and complexity. When accidents occur on these vessels, the injuries sustained by commercial fishing workers can be severe and even include death. If you have questions about accidents involving commercial fishing boats, a Mississippi commercial fishing boat accident attorney from Lott Law may be able to help. Consider calling (228) 215-2787 to schedule a consultation.

Commercial Fishing Boat Accidents Explained

Commercial fishing boat accidents are unintended events that occur on board a commercial fishing vessel that can lead to a worker’s death or injury. Some of the main dangers faced by commercial fishing workers include the following:

  • Weather: A number of the hazards experienced by commercial fishing workers are extreme temperatures and lightning. Weather extremes can cause a multitude of ailments, such as frostbite or trench foot from cold and wet conditions, or skin injuries or cancer from constant UV exposure. Lightning can lead to severe injuries, especially if it strikes a vessel’s metal surfaces. 
  • Water: Working on the water presents several hazards. The decks can become slippery when covered by seawater and rain, possibly leading to slips and falls. Workers can suffer from hypothermia while working in or near very cold seawater. 
  • Unstable work environment: Working at sea involves completing job duties in an unstable environment. During storms, fishing vessels can move about violently, which may result in workers slipping, falling, or going overboard.
  • Diving: A commercial fishing worker may dive underwater to untangle fishing lines or release snagged equipment. A crew member who has little to no knowledge of or experience with diving could sustain injuries—bruises, cuts, fractures—experience motion sickness, or drown.
  • Fatigue: Those working on commercial fishing ships often work long shifts in high-stress situations, which may result in fatigue on a short- or long-term basis. Such conditions mean that workers are more likely to make mistakes, which can increase the risk of injury to themselves and their colleagues.
  • Equipment issues: Equipment malfunction and failure may occur at sea at any point, resulting in injuries to workers. Cables, beams, or other structural elements may break, leading to falling debris that could hit one or more individuals on board.
  • Chemicals: Commercial fishing ships often carry several types of chemicals, such as degreasers, ammonia, and refrigerants. These substances can pose health hazards to workers who accidentally ingest or inhale them or get them on their skin, potentially resulting in burns, neurological injuries, or organ damage.
  • Risk of falls: Workers on board commercial fishing vessels could find that they must complete certain duties, such as repairs and maintenance, at significant heights. If a worker falls without protective equipment like body belts and harnesses, the individual might be seriously injured.

What Is the Leading Cause of Death in Boating Accidents?

The leading cause of death in boating accidents is drowning. One of the most prominent causes of drowning in fishing boat accidents is crew members falling overboard, but there is always a risk of the vessel capsizing or sinking with people trapped inside. As with many other types of boating accidents, following the relevant safety procedures and anticipating hazards can reduce the chances of a boat operator or other worker drowning. 

Safety protocols include providing training on the correct usage of life vests and ensuring that the vessel has at least the same number of functioning life vests as there are people on board. A Mississippi boat accident attorney from Lott Law may be able to help if you have been the victim of a commercial fishing boat accident.

What Is the Law if You Are Involved in a Reportable Boating Accident With Injuries?

Reporting requirements for boating accidents vary between states. In Mississippi, reporting the incident to either the Department of Marine Resources or the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is necessary if the boating accident results in property damage exceeding $100 or if an individual dies, sustains an injury, or becomes incapacitated for a day or more as a result of the incident.

If an individual dies during the incident, responsible parties must report the incident within two days. For accidents involving property damage, incapacitation, and injuries, responsible parties have no longer than five days after the incident to complete the report.

How Do You Respond to a Boating Accident?

If you are involved in a boating accident, follow these tips:

  • Ensure the safety of everyone on board by stopping the vessel and completing a headcount
  • Tend to any injuries immediately through first aid, and escalate to emergency services if necessary
  • Maintain composure, quickly devise an action plan, and look out for secondary hazards, such as fires, leaks, or approaching ships
  • Reach out to emergency services via the vessel’s radio, or use a cell phone if close to shore, and provide the caller’s name, the ship’s name, the vessel’s current location, the nature of the emergency, and the number of individuals on board
  • Keep records of the incident; note the location and time of the accident, document the weather conditions and events that led to the accident, and take videos and photos of the damage sustained by the vessel and any injuries if possible
  • Exchange information with other parties if the accident involved a collision with another vessel, including contact details, insurance information, and vessel registration numbers
  • Inform the insurance provider and the local boating authority of the incident

Can You Get Whiplash on a Boat?

Sustaining whiplash from working on a commercial fishing vessel is possible. When a ship strikes an object, a person’s head can move backward and forward rapidly, straining and damaging ligaments and muscles in the neck, resulting in a whiplash injury.

Contact a Mississippi Commercial Fishing Boat Accident Attorney Today

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just over 40 commercial fishing workers die annually while at work, making commercial fishing one of the deadliest vocations in the United States. If you have suffered an injury while working in commercial fishing, consider contacting a seasoned Mississippi boat accident attorney from Lott Law to discuss the case specifics and learn more about your legal rights by calling (228) 215-2787 to schedule a consultation today.