Is it more dangerous to drive a boat in the dark?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2022 | Maritime Law

You hope not to be caught on the water after the sun goes down, but you know that you can’t always control it. Maybe you have a sailboat, and you don’t get favorable winds to get home in time. Even if you have a powerboat, maybe you have just lost track of time when you’re too far from the harbor to get there before it’s dark.

If this does happen to you, does it increase the odds of you being injured in a crash or an accident? It is well-known that driving after dark is more dangerous and that there are more car crashes once the sun goes down, but does the same thing apply to boats?

It’s an extremely dangerous activity

Experts call driving a boat in the dark an extremely dangerous thing to do. It’s incredibly hard to navigate safely, and it’s difficult to see any other craft that may be on the water. You also face risks from stationary objects, whether that’s a natural formation like a shoal or a man-made item like a dock or a swimming platform.

Additionally, it’s much harder for other drivers to see you when they are piloting their boats after dark. If two craft are caught in the same area, and neither driver can see where the other one is, it makes it nearly impossible to follow proper boating rules and etiquette. This can lead to an accidental crash when both boats suddenly encounter each other, with their skippers only realizing it at the last moment.

If you have been injured in a recreational boating accident and you believe the other driver was responsible, then it’s important to understand all of your legal options.