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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.paddling.net/articles/feature.html?show=96

We have two kids, in a kayak, who were hit by a motor boat. Both kids expect to survive. No alcohol was involved, and no charges will be filed against the boat operator.

Those are the facts.

I'm looking for opinons from those of you with more experience on the water than I have...

IMO.... The power boater is expected to be in control of his boat, and presumably aware of what is in front of him. He's at least crimially negligent. I know if I hit two kids on a bicycle with my car that I'd most likely be considered at fault... I don't see why the rules would be any different on the water.

I'm sure the guy has civil liability for the issue.... But I would expect some kind of criminal penalty as well.

Other opinions?
 

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Red X Angler
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Kayaks aren't like jetskis, they cant make sudden moves. Even at top speed they are almost in a fixed position as far as seeing them, adjusting for their presence etc. Unless this boater was coming around a blind curve, or through some area where his view was obstructed he should have seen them. And if he was coming through an area with limited sight, he should have been going slow enough to adjust. Maybe, and it would be a slim chance, if the kayak popped out from behind something suddenly, and the boater could not react fast enough, I could see it not being the boaters fault. Would have to be a perfect, bad situation.
 

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I have never been in a kayak, so I am no expert. But I have seen a few on the lakes that I fish. I think it should be mandatory for them to have flags, or some kind of device to make other boats aware of their presence. Not sure of the circumstances with this accident, could have been a number of different factors. It's a shame that it happened, and I would not want to be in either parties shoes. Hope they all get over their injuries as well.
 

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In traffic situations there are certain scenarios where no matter how much of an accident, someone is at fault. IE. hitting someone from behind or while driving in reverse. I see this as one of those situations. The vehicle under power bears the (civil) responsibility of the accident. As far as criminal negligence, that is for LE to decide.
 
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None of us were there but the investigative officer deemed no charges were warranted as did the District Attorney and or States Attorney. It would seem that their should be charges but....

BTW, I googled it and it is basically a square with 4 canals coming into out of it. Could not see that there was any obstructing vegetation.
 

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It is written - least maneuverable vessel has the right of way, every time and all the time.
No excuses for the power boat driver.
IMO, negligence based criminal and civil charges apply.

Plus Fishin',
RW
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
None of us were there but the investigative officer deemed no charges were warranted as did the District Attorney and or States Attorney. It would seem that their should be charges but....

BTW, I googled it and it is basically a square with 4 canals coming into out of it. Could not see that there was any obstructing vegetation.
You know, I google mapped it too....

What's weird, to me, is that I don't see any boat launches or docks.... I can see people launching kayaks from their back yards, but I don't really see how the power boat got into that little lake. Obviously, I am missing something.

From the map, the lake is maybe 1000' wide by 1200' long. Unless whipping out of one of those canals at a high rate of speed (possible, of course)... just how fast would could the boat have been going?.
 
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There is a house on NW 179th Terrace with a boat ramp. And it is only app. 350yds wide by 375yds. long

EDIT: SORRY LENR I MISSED THAT YOU PUT THE SIZE IN FEET AND I MEASURED IN YARDS. SO WE ARE BOTH RIGHT :cool:

Urban design Residential area Landscape City Mixed-use
 

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I agree with most of you. The vessel under power has the responsibilty to avoid other vessels. Can't imagine no charges, but then I wasn't there. I also Googled it. Didn't see any boat ramp. But obviously one got in there.
 

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I don't think not seeing someone while sober is criminal negligence. There can be any one or three contributing factors to not seeing someone or something at any given time or place. If I run over and kill someone crossing 40 highway on foot tonight on the way home.....I wont be charged as being criminally negligent nor negligent.

If the guy was sober and operating at a safe speed.....I have no idea where you would begin to drag up some evidence he was criminally negligent.

It would probably be more easy to pin negligence on the parents in this case.
 

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I have little knowledge of the legal system so I wont go there but I will speak from my experiences on the water. Kayaks can be hard to spot, especially if they are dark colored and the person in it is wearing dark clothes. Sometimes they may even blend in with the shoreline trees. It says this incident happened at about 6:45 PM, glare from the setting sun may have had an effect on the boater's vision or if the area was in a shadow it could have been difficult to see.

I did witness a few weeks back a guy on a stand up paddle board almost get hit under a bridge. Both the paddleboarder and the following boat were in the no wake zone going the same direction, the paddleboarder carelessly changed course right into the path of the boat as he was oblivious to its presence.
 

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FTR, that lake is connected to an entire canal system, so boats can easily get in there. All those canals are interesting, I fished some of them from my kayak up around West Palm Beach and around Miami from my kayak for peacock bass back in June - though I never saw a single boat.

Anyways, I remember seeing a court case a while back where a boat clearly was at fault for hitting a kayaker, but the kayaker lost his case due to the way the law was written - aka "kayak" was not spelled out in the law. Makes you wonder what the laws are in Florida. Thing is, lots of those canals and "lakes" are no wake zones.

To be honest, I doubt even a visipole and flag would have helped those kids, plenty of boating yahoos don't really pay attention. That being said I wish kayak manufacturers would stick to only making brightly colored kayaks. I have a tough time seeing my kayak buddies sometimes. Oh well, we are all grown people, I decided for myself I like bright colored kayaks :)
 

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I totally agree with a bright colored yak! Camo fishing yaks are the stupidest thing invented yet. On another note I was kayaking out of Lawson creek park in New Bern Tuesday eve and a bass boat came roaring practically all the way to the launch at full power probably doin mph. There are lots of crab pots and anchored boats, kayakers and paddleboarders in that area. The bass boat guys need to start using their heads imo.
 

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The Tony Stewart grand jury case can be viewed in the same light.
It has to either be proven there was intent or that he wasn't paying enough attention. How can you prove how much attention some one was paying unless you can prove they were fiddling around with the radio, or texting?

On brightly colored yaks, while I agree bright colors stand out and are no doubt safer, not all yaks are plastic.
You would hate the one I am building. The outside and topsides of the hull are red mahogany. The cockpit and tankwell, golden fruitwood. It's not going to stand out like spotlights in the night sky. The user just has to be aware of that and the places he puts himself along with what he wears for clothing and life jacket. She will shine though.
 

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FTR, that lake is connected to an entire canal system, so boats can easily get in there. All those canals are interesting, I fished some of them from my kayak up around West Palm Beach and around Miami from my kayak for peacock bass back in June - though I never saw a single boat. :)
I must be looking at a different Lake Stevens in Miami-Dade then you because the one I see on Google Earth is a stand alone lake with canals emptying into it that are connected by drainage culverts that no motorboat is getting thru, maybe someone lying down on a SUP could get thru but not a motorboat.
 

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I saw a man on a bicycle that had a red, quickly flashing bright light on it. Even in daylight it could be seen easily. That may not have helped in this case, but should help in most others.

Thanks biglenr for bringing this to our attention.
 

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Interesting discussion and food for thought for all us power boaters and paddlers. Unfortunately the "rules of the road" and who has the right of way often come into conflict with a variety of factors and lack of good judgement and common sense. One craft may have the right of way but if the other vessel is unable to maneuver or stop in time (e.g. barges, large vessels)...or can't see the other vessel for a variety of reasons....stuff happens.

In more than one situation while fishing, we have been "surprised" by kayakers who appeared suddenly after being hidden in the trough between waves. The problem of visibility is made worse by dark colored yaks and very little bright clothing... In one situation, the paddler even had a flag, which was amazingly small and hard to see out in the open sea. We were cruising slow, looking for fish, so there was sufficient time to react. But, at a fast pace and looking at a chart or changing the screen on a GPS...there may not have been time to change course. A few weeks ago on one of our inland lakes, I was surprised how hard it was to see stand up paddleboarders out on the water. It was a day with flat calm conditions and good visibility. They were out in the middle of the lake in high boat traffic area...but seemed to blend in with the houses and piers along the shoreline and were difficult to pick out until you were pretty close. My thought at the time..."an accident waiting to happen."

Times like these I guess are the reason I purchased yellow kayaks, yellow and orange PFDs and my paddle has yellow blades....and on the powerboat, I ask my friends to help me keep a sharp lookout.
 

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Red X Angler
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My paddles have black blades but I have to agree with Richard about the visibility of yellow and white ones you can usually see the flash of a bright paddle blade much farther out than the boat or flag.

I would like to know what was written in the officers report. I have some near misses in my 18 ft. jon boat because the driver was looking somewhere other than were he was going.

Darrell
 
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