One of the best things about living in Houston is the bountiful fishing opportunities. Brown trout, groupers, sheep heads, snappers, flounder, even blue crab can be caught while spending a few blissful hours aboard a charter fishing boat.
Charter boat vessels can be rented or leased for many seaside activities, from whale watching to sailing, and of course, sport fishing. The beauty of the open sea appeals to many, but many pleasure cruises end in injury, if the charter boat is unseaworthy or captain and crew behave recklessly.
If you’ve been injured or assaulted on a charter fishing boat, a maritime lawyer can help you seek compensation for related medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Charter Boat Basics
Charter boats can be luxury yachts, catamarans or bareboats. Luxury yachts may be rented for vacations, honeymoons, or corporate events. Bareboat charters are rented directly from the vessel’s owner, and you must supply your own crews and provisions. Houston and Galveston are home to many fishing charters. It depends on where you want to go and how much you have to splurge on your escapade.
Typically, fishing charter boats will host a group of 1-4 people for several hours out at sea. Some boats are large enough to host a fishing group of ten. Most charters offer full or half day options, and some offer nighttime excursions. Some boats are family friendly, while others frown on having little ones on board, so be sure to research your charter boat options.
In Houston, the best months for fishing are late April through early September, when you may catch a few prize sharks, tarpon and tuna. Galveston, Baytown, Dickinson, and Deer Park also offer great deals for daytime charter boat trips.
Charter Boat Etiquette
When renting any kind of vessel, it’s important to respect the captain and crew. This may help minimize chances of altercations between your party and those who work on the boat. General rules of boat etiquette are:
- Listen to your captain and crew and follow their safety instructions.
- Remember that the captain’s word is law. Typically, they do not want to be held liable for any injuries that occur due to a passenger’s poor choices. If their behavior endangers you in anyway, you can discuss this in length with your attorney.
- Even if life vests aren’t required on your trip, be mindful of where they are in the case of an emergency.
- It’s customary to tip the captain and crew after your journey. 15% gratuity is standard, but you can give as little as 5% if you are very dissatisfied.
Common Charter Boat Fishing Accidents and Injuries
Unfortunately, accidents on the water happen regularly. A charter boat that is unseaworthy helmed by a negligent captain or crew could cause a passenger’s injury or death. Sailing on rough seas, improper docking, and capsize events can cause severe injuries to both passengers and crews.
A charter boat could collide with another vessel, as occurred on July 23rd, 2015 in Corpus Christi. All 11 passengers on board suffered injuries as a result of this accident, which is still under investigation by the US Coast Guard.
Sometimes accidents are caused by a passenger’s bad behavior. For instance, a drunk tourist could slip and fall on uneven or slippery desks; they may fall overboard and drown. Common charter fishing boat accidents include:
- hand and finger injuries from handling fishing lines
- broken bones
- amputation of limbs
- traumatic brain injury
- physical assault by a crewmember or passenger
How a Maritime Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been injured on a charter fishing boat, you may not know what steps to take next. Medical expenses, missed work and pain are not the way we intend to end our vacations.
In the U.S., there are numerous laws aimed specifically at regulating the offshore industry, including recreational charter fishing. How these laws apply to passengers and maritime workers is a complex legal field that calls for attorneys who are diligent, meticulous and committed.
At Pierce | Skrabanek we are those lawyers. We’re prepared to help Texans get the compensation that will help them and their families after they are hurt on vessels, whether they are working or vacationing.
A consultation with a maritime attorney is always free. There is no obligation on your part. We’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (832) 690-7200 or use the form on this page for a free case evaluation to learn your legal options.