Whether it is an accident is on a small jet ski or a collision between two large ships, navigational errors occur and are the most common cause of accidents on the water. Even with all the navigational technology that is supposed to make the job easier, at-sea navigation still remains a risky science for everyone that can lead to major accidents that result in damages, injuries, and even death.
The causes of navigation errors can vary, but it is important to understand the most common and educate ship crews on what steps they may be able to take to prevent such tragedies. Here are a few of the most common navigation errors that lead to accidents:
- Relying too much on the radar – Many collisions on American waterways occur between ships of different sizes, such as between a small fishing boat and a cargo ship. In most of these collisions, it was because the larger vessel relied too much on their radar. In most investigations, it was found that the large vessel was relying solely on radar and not by sight. This meant that the smaller vessel was not being picked up on the radar and went unnoticed. Had someone been keeping adequate lookout, the accident would not have occurred. Make sure that navigators on your ship keep proper lookout and never rely solely on radar to prevent these accidents.
- Not verifying radar targets visually – Similar to the above situations, many times radars are trusted too much, especially if there is lower visibility or a lot of traffic. Targets sighted are often misinterpreted as false echoes which lead to collision with a stationary object such as a boat that has stopped or a rocky embankment. Be sure that radar targets are always visually verified, no matter how faint the signal may be.
- Misunderstanding the right-of-way – In international and American waters there are specific regulations regarding right-of-way. In most situations, action must be taken to prevent a collision regardless of who had the right-of-way. Smaller crafts and stationary fishing boats are required to stay out of the way of major traffic lanes, even if the vessel traveling in the lane is close to the same size. Even if you think you should have the right-of-way, never be so stubborn that you are not willing to get out of the way if you can prevent an accident by doing so.
- Reporting the incorrect position – Similar to traffic control, many ship traffic regulations require frequent check-ins to report the angle of travel, current location, etc. Failing to correctly report these positions, or not reporting them at all, can lead to major collisions if the vessels are not aware of each other’s positions.
- Rudder angle errors – While this may sound simple, many collisions can be caused by incorrect adjustment to the rudder angle. This can result in improper angling of the ship which can cause collisions with a nearby vessel or other obstacle.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a ship accident, whether it was due to navigation errors or something else, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through one of the various maritime laws. Contact the attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm today to find out what your legal options may be.