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With the summer sunshine beckoning families to the coast, many people will be attracted by the allure of the sea and the leisure opportunities providers offer. The range of recreation activities are endless and provide the thrills and excitement we are all looking for in our holidays. Unfortunately, the greater the thrill, the higher the potential risks and accidents at sea happen all too frequently.

Luckily, the majority do not result in any harm done. For the minority, however, the severity of injury can be significant and catastrophic.

The news today (17 May) led with a story involving the horror and tragedy of the negligent control of a speedboat resulting in the death of a father and his daughter, and a severe leg injury to the mother and minor injuries to other members of the family.

Jet ski, banana boat and other types of accidents at sea can equally happen with the same horrific results.  Recently, four teenage children under 15 were taken to hospital after their jet ski sank off the Anglesey coast as a result of alleged negligence. The coastguard reported that only three of them were wearing lifejackets.  It appears that a bung, which prevents water filling the jet-ski, had been left out, causing it to sink.

In September 2010, a young girl aged 10 tragically died when she was hit by the propeller of a boat that had been towing an inflatable banana boat at the Prince’s Sporting Club in Bedfont, West London. She was attending a birthday party and was part of a group riding the inflatable on a lake at the site.

Maritime law and personal injury law require specialist legal advice.  The time limit within which a claim must be pursued may be two or three years from the date of the event.  Insurance is regularly a problem with these types of accidents,  especially when poorly maintained equipment, inexperience, lack of training or negligence leads to disaster.

Part 61.2 of the Civil Procedure Rules requires that any claim for loss of life or personal injury caused by a defect in a ship or its equipment, or negligence in the navigation of management of a ship because of the fault of the owners, or persons in control of the ship or the master or crew should be brought in the Admiralty Court but, in most cases, the County Court will, in practice, be the appropriate place for the claim to be dealt with.

Lyons Davidson has a specialist team who well-experienced claims for accidents at sea, so if you would like assistance, please contact our Personal Injury and Accident Claims team for initial free advice.  Email [email protected] or telephone 0117 904 6326.