Boat Rental sitting by dock in water

I Was Hurt by Someone Renting a Boat – Can I Sue for Compensation?

Boat rentals have become increasingly popular in Austin and other parts of Texas where boating is a favorite pastime. With the recent development of peer-to-peer (P2P) boat rentals, amateur boaters can use their smartphones to rent a boat for a day or week without ever having to visit an official boating rental company. On any given weekend, there will be more inexperienced boaters, helmsmen, and hopeful captains on the waters than before, which means there will be more boating hazards than can cause boating accidents.

Issues with Boat Rentals in Texas

Texas has relatively lenient regulations when it comes to who can and cannot legally sail a boat.

Anyone born on or after September 1st, 1993 needs a boating license to sail a:

  • Personal watercraft (PWC)
  • Motorized boat with more than 15 horsepower
  • Sailboat longer than 14 feet in length

People older born before the set date do not need a boating license to sail or operate these types of watercraft. Anyone can sail a motorboat with less than 15 horsepower or a sailboat shorter than 14 feet.

Boat rental services essentially allow the rental of any watercraft. P2P boat rentals make this process even simpler because it is done through a smartphone with very little oversight to ensure renters are actually licensed to sail a rented craft. In other words, practically anyone can rent any sort of boat or watercraft and start sailing without training or supervision. You never know who will be sailing the boat next to you in the water. It could be an amateur or a teenager with zero boating experience.

Inexperienced boaters may exhibit these behaviors or actions while boating:

  • Slower response time to emergencies or hazards
  • Difficulty steering their watercraft
  • Increased slowing distance to bring their watercraft to a halt
  • Greater proclivity to use drugs or alcohol while acting as the helmsman
  • Heightened chance to travel above regulated waterway speed limits
  • Lessened understanding of waterway rules and other sailing-related laws

Bringing a Claim Against the Boat Owner

Not boat rental accidents are caused by a negligent boater, though. In some cases, the boat renter is hurt because the boat they rent is defective without being told about the danger. While responsibly and safely sailing and operating their rented boat, they can be blindsided by a sudden defect that causes an accident.

Common boat defects that might not have been disclosed to you when you rented your boat:

  • Motor issues that cause sudden failure or engine overclocking
  • Rudder issues that prevent safe steering
  • Gaps or weak points that spring into leaks while on water
  • Lack of necessary safety equipment, such as life vests and preservers

Legal Counsel for Boat Rental Accident Cases Outside Your State

Many Texans leave the state to visit the coast for a boating vacation. Whether you were in Florida, California, Louisiana, South Carolina, or any other state when you were hurt by someone who rented a boat, you can work with a local attorney to help with your boating accident claim as it develops. Experienced boat accident lawyers can work on your case remotely or act as co-counsel with a trusted law firm in the state you were in when the accident occurred.

Briggle & Polan, PLLC – Austin Boat Rental Accident Attorneys

Were you hurt while sailing a rented boat in Austin, Texas or another waterway in the U.S.? Did you get hit by an inexperienced boater who rented a P2P boat without knowing how to properly sail? In either circumstance, you can depend on Briggle & Polan, PLLC and our boat rental accident attorneys. We are here to make your life easier by handling your claim from start to finish while you focus on recuperation and your wellbeing.

Call (512) 400-3278 to arrange a free consultation. We don’t charge attorney fees unless we win your case!