Kayaking is a popular recreational activity, but it can be dangerous if proper procedures are not followed. Maintaining a proper lookout is an essential part of kayaking safely. It means paying attention to your surroundings and actively scanning for potential hazards, such as other vessels, swimmers, or obstacles in the water.
When kayaking, maintaining a proper lookout involves continuously scanning the water in all directions to identify potential hazards. This includes looking forward, backward, and to the sides. Kayakers should also keep an eye on the weather conditions, as sudden changes in wind, waves, or current can create hazards.
Williams v. Giraldez highlights the importance of maintaining a proper lookout, following navigation rules, and taking evasive action when necessary to avoid a collision with another vessel or object in the water.
On August 28, 2016, Mr. Williams and Mr. Giraldez were both operating kayaks in the Sheepshead Bay marina in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Williams was paddling slowly and carefully near the pier, while Mr. Giraldez was kayaking at a high speed in a crowded area of the marina. Mr. Giraldez’s kayak collided with Mr. Williams’ kayak, causing significant damage to both kayaks and injuring Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams claimed that he tried to steer his kayak out of the way, but Mr. Giraldez’s kayak collided with his vessel, causing the accident. Mr. Giraldez, on the other hand, argued that Mr. Williams was at fault for the accident because he did not maintain a proper lookout and suddenly changed direction, causing the collision. Mr. Giraldez claimed that he was unable to avoid the collision despite his efforts to do so.
The court conducted a trial and heard testimony from both parties, as well as from witnesses who were present at the time of the accident. The court found that Mr. Giraldez was negligent in his operation of the kayak, as he was not paying proper attention to his surroundings and failed to take evasive action to avoid the collision. The court further found that Mr. Williams had followed proper kayaking procedures and was not at fault for the accident.
The court noted that kayakers must always maintain a proper lookout and be aware of their surroundings. They must be prepared to take evasive action when necessary to avoid a collision with another vessel or object in the water. Kayakers must also follow proper navigation rules, such as displaying the required lights and signaling devices, and staying to the right of the waterway when navigating.
The court found that Mr. Giraldez was traveling at an excessive speed in a crowded area of the marina and was not maintaining a proper lookout. The court also found that Mr. Giraldez failed to take evasive action when he saw Mr. Williams’ kayak, and as a result, collided with Mr. Williams’ kayak.
The court further noted that Mr. Williams had properly displayed the required lights on his kayak and had taken appropriate action to avoid the collision. The court found that Mr. Williams had followed proper kayaking procedures and was not at fault for the accident.
Based on these findings, the court held Mr. Giraldez liable for the accident and awarded damages to Mr. Williams for his injuries and the damage to his kayak.
Williams v. Giraldez highlights the importance of responsible kayaking practices. The court’s decision emphasizes the need for kayakers to maintain a proper lookout, follow navigation rules, and take evasive action when necessary to avoid collisions with other vessels or objects in the water. Ultimately, this case serves as a reminder that safety should always be the top priority when engaging in recreational activities, especially when it comes to water sports like kayaking.
If you are injured in a kayaking accident in New York, it is important to contact a skilled New York boat accident lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and options. A qualified lawyer can review your case, advise you on the best course of action, and help you seek the compensation you deserve.