Amputation Injury on Fishing Boat off Sonoma, California

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Maritime Law, Personal Injury

There was an amputation injury on a fishing boat off the coast of Sonoma, California on March 17, 2024.  According to reports, the injured woman was met by a helicopter at the dock and airlifted to a local hospital following the severe injury.  Additional details have not been released.

Amputation injuries on fishing boats are unfortunately not uncommon and can be attributed to a variety of hazards inherent to the maritime fishing industry. One of the primary causes of such injuries is the entanglement with or entrapment by the machinery and equipment used on fishing vessels. Winches, nets, lines, and traps, essential for the operation of catching fish, pose significant risks. When limbs or fingers come into contact with moving parts, the outcome can be catastrophic, leading to crush injuries or amputations. The wet and slippery deck conditions, combined with the unpredictable movements of the boat, exacerbate the risk, making it challenging for crew members to maintain their footing and control when handling equipment.

Another potential cause of amputation injuries on fishing boats is the improper use or failure of tools and equipment. Knives, hooks, and other sharp instruments are commonplace and necessary for the job but can become perilous when used without appropriate safety measures or if they are left unsecured on moving vessels. The chaotic environment of a catch, coupled with fatigue from long working hours, can lead to lapses in concentration and mishandling of these tools, resulting in severe cuts or amputations. Moreover, equipment failure, such as the malfunction of hydraulic doors or winches, can unexpectedly trap limbs, applying force enough to cause an amputation.

Finally, environmental factors and extreme weather conditions significantly contribute to the risk of amputation injuries on fishing boats. High seas, strong winds, and icy conditions not only make the job more physically demanding but also increase the likelihood of accidents. Crew members are required to perform complex maneuvers and handle heavy equipment under such conditions, where a momentary loss of balance or equipment slipping out of control can lead to severe injuries, including amputations. The combination of these factors highlights the importance of rigorous safety protocols, training, and equipment maintenance on fishing vessels to mitigate the risks associated with this dangerous profession.

There have been a number of recent incidents involving vessels.  A 75-foot yacht caught fire off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia on March 8, 2024.  The fishing boat Linedout crashed into the leg of an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 2024.  A fire broke out on the cargo vessel CUYAHOGA on March 15, 2024.  There was a deadly recreational boating accident in North Naples, Florida on March 15, 2024.

It can be dangerous to work in any industry when safety considerations are not taken seriously.  Safe offshore vessel owners and operators must ensure that their ships do not put the lives of hard working men and women at risk.  Safe companies must be proactive and take preventative measures, including regular maintenance and repairs, to also ensure that the environment is not impacted.

Even when a company has practices and procedures in place to prevent incidents like this, mishaps such as the one described above are cannot be completely eliminated.  All too often, human error and negligence are the reasons for these vessel collisions.  Whether it is due to poor judgment, a normalization of deviance from the proper procedures or a lack of proper rest and recovery, humans err and sometimes these errors result in the property damage, injury or death.  Operating modern sea vessels is not an inherently unsafe act as long as those responsible do so in such a manner that is not negligent. When the operation of sea vessels is conducted in a negligent manner, it does not take long for the situation to become dangerous.

Our experienced lawyers handle maritime personal injury and wrongful death litigation of all kinds and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured as a result of a maritime accident. The lawyers of Spagnoletti Law Firm have handled maritime lawsuits throughout the country.

The experienced and aggressive vessel accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident on a ship. There are strict and short time limits on making claims related to maritime injuries, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your rights.