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Fishing Boat Injuries in California

With its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and numerous lakes and other waterways, California is a destination for many fishing enthusiasts. 2022 data from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, there were nearly 3.1 million recreational fishing trips taken in the state last year.

No matter how experienced or careful you are when you go out on a fishing trip, there’s always the chance that you’ll be involved in some type of accident where you could be injured. It’s difficult to think about, but it’s always helpful to be prepared and to understand what your rights and options are.

Contact Our Experienced California Boat Accident Lawyers

If you have been hurt on a fishing boat–or any other boat–in California, Maison Law can help. Our team of experienced California boat accident lawyers understand how difficult this situation is, and can help you navigate your recovery by helping you through the legal process. Acting quickly is important, but we can make sure you get the support you need. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

What Types of Fishing Boats Are There in California?

Because California is so vast, it offers many different types of recreational fishing trips for you and your family and friends. As a result, there are actually a wide range of different types of fishing boats you can use to take these trips. Different types of fish require different equipment, and certain locations are only able to be accessed by certain types of fishing boats. Generally speaking though, when you go on a fishing trip in California, you’ll probably go aboard one of these types of boats:

  • Skiffs – These small, lightweight boats are often used for inshore or nearshore fishing. They are easy to maneuver in shallow waters and are popular for targeting species like bass, halibut, and rockfish.
  • Center console boats – Featuring a center-mounted steering console, these versatile boats offer ample deck space for fishermen. They are commonly used for coastal and offshore fishing and can handle a range of fishing techniques.
  • Bay boats – Designed for fishing in bays, estuaries, and flats, bay boats provide a balance of shallow water access and stability. They are well-suited for targeting species like redfish, trout, and flounder.
  • Bass boats – Primarily used for freshwater fishing, bass boats are designed for angling bass in lakes and reservoirs. They often have specialized features like live wells and elevated casting decks.
  • Pontoon boats – While often associated with leisure, pontoon boats can also be adapted for fishing. They offer a stable platform for freshwater fishing in lakes and slow-moving rivers.
  • Sportfishing boats – These larger vessels are built for offshore fishing adventures, capable of handling deeper waters and longer excursions. Sportfishing boats often come equipped with amenities such as sleeping quarters, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  • Sailboats – Some fishermen use sailboats for fishing in California’s coastal waters. These boats can be rigged for trolling or drift fishing, offering a serene and environmentally friendly fishing experience.

Many charter companies operate various types of fishing boats for guided trips, and they offer them on all of these types of boats. Regardless of what you choose to use, though, it’s important to remember that accidents can happen, which can lead to rather serious injuries.

How Can You Get Injured on a Fishing Boat in California?

Again, no matter how experienced you are at fishing, even if you’re on a larger boat, there are a number of different factors in play that could lead to an injury. Usually, many accidents involve things like:

  • Wet decks, slippery surfaces, and unsteady footing can cause you to slip, leading to bruises, sprains, fractures, or more serious injuries.
  • Fishing gear, ropes, and other things can create things to trip over if they’re not put away properly, causing falls and injuries.
  • Accidentally bumping into other boats, docks, or obstacles can hurt passengers and crew members.
  • If the boat suddenly moves or you lose balance, you might fall off, getting hurt or even drowning if not helped quickly.
  • Mishandling fishing hooks or getting hit by one while casting or reeling can make holes or stuck hooks in your skin.
  • Using knives, hooks, and sharp tools for fishing tasks can lead to accidental cuts and holes in your skin.
  • Fishing lines, nets, and gear can tangle around your limbs, causing injuries or making it hard to move.
  • Lifting or dealing with heavy fishing gear, coolers, and stuff can lead to strains, sprains, and muscle injuries.


As you can see, facing an accident on a fishing boat means a variety of different things. What you need to be aware of most, though, is the likelihood of being injured in one of these accidents. While every injury incident is unique, some of the more common injuries that can happen to you include:

  • Cuts and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Back and spine injuries
  • Drowning
  • Serious cuts
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Burns
  • Extreme cold injuries
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Twists and pulls (sprains and strains)
  • Eye injuries
  • Limb injuries (amputations)

What Should You Do After a Fishing Boat Accident in California?

The answer to your question depends on your situation, but it’s important to know what to do after an accident that happens on a fishing boat in California. If you’ve been injured, here’s what you should do:

  • Get medical help quickly – Accidents and injuries on fishing boats can be serious, so even if it seems minor, seek medical attention to prevent problems.
  • Notify the boat owners and authorities – Report the accident to both the owner/operator of the boat and the appropriate authorities, such as the U.S. Coast Guard or local law enforcement. They can help with the investigation.
  • Gather information – Collect details about the accident, including the date, time, location, weather conditions, and what caused the accident. Take photos and video if possible.
  • Exchange information – If there are other parties involved (other boats, individuals), exchange contact and insurance information.
  • Witnesses – If there are witnesses, get their contact information. Their accounts can be valuable for any potential investigations or legal matters.
  • Preserve any evidence – Keep any damaged equipment, as it might be needed for investigations or insurance claims.
  • Report the accident to the insurance company – If you have insurance, report the accident to your insurance provider. They can guide you through the claims process. Also, if someone else is at fault and you have their information, you can file a claim against them.

Following these steps will protect your health and legal rights after an accident in California. Under the state’s injury laws, you can file a claim against the party that’s at-fault. Our experienced boat accident lawyers can help guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Filing a Claim After a California Fishing Boat Accident

Once you decide to pursue a dog bite claim in California, understanding the process is important. Legally, a fishing boat accident claim is similar to other injury claims in California. While every accident and claim is unique, the process generally includes the following steps:

  • Filing a claim with the boat owner/operator’s insurance company – You’ll likely submit your claim to the boat owner, operator, renter, or company’s liability insurance. Provide detailed info about the incident, injuries, and damages.
  • Negotiating a settlement – The insurance company might offer a settlement. Our team can help assess it and negotiate for a fair settlement covering all damages.
  • Filing a lawsuit – If a settlement isn’t reached, filing a lawsuit against the boat company or owner may be necessary to obtain support for your injuries. Our team will represent you in court.

Available Damages

Typically, the following damages can be claimed in a California boat accident case:

  • Medical expenses and ongoing treatment, like therapy or rehab
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income
  • Property damage related to the incident
  • Punitive damages if the operator or company was particularly negligent.

Damages depend on the extent of your injuries. Keep in mind, like other injury claims in California, boat accident claims have a statute of limitations – a deadline to file a claim. In California, you have two years from the incident date to file. Missing this deadline might lead to losing out on damages.

Contact Maison Law Today For a Free Consultation

A fishing boat accident is usually challenging because of the injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain involved. If you or a loved one experienced this during a California fishing trip, Maison Law and our team of experienced California boat accident lawyers can help you.

Don’t wait–contact us for a free consultation and begin seeking the justice you deserve.

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