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Discovery Bay Boating Accident Kills One, Critically Injures Another

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Jill Hullen, 47, of Discovery Bay died and her 14-year-old son suffered critical injuries after their personal watercraft collided with a 23-foot boat in Discovery Bay, according to a news report in the Contra Costa Times. Rescue personnel airlifted the boy to an area hospital after the California boating accident and later found his mother’s body 60 feet from the shoreline.

The article quoted David Piepho, town director of Discoery Bay, who said the area where Indian Slough passes over the north end of Discovery Bay can be dangerous because of the heavy amount of recreational traffic. According to the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Marine Patrol office, the driver of the bigger boat and his passengers were uninjured.

The California Department of Boating and Waterways recently released its “2007 California Boating Safety Report” providing data about boating accidents, injuries and deaths reported in 2007. According to this report California ranks first among all states for boating accidents, and when you consider that there are 964,881 registered recreational vessels in California, it is a wonder that the number isn’t higher.

My heart goes out to the Hullen family. Let’s keep the Hullen boy in our prayers for a complete and quick recovery.

The Hullen family will be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California boating accident injury attorney. A skilled attorney will conduct a thorough, independent investigation into this accident and find out who or what caused the accident. If the driver of the bigger boat is determined to have been at fault then he or his employer (if any) would be held liable for the accident, injuries and damages.

This incident is also an important reminder for us to exercise caution when we are on the water. According to the report, 39 of 55 victims who died in California boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. Several incidents also involved the use of alcohol. In fact, alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities. The majority of boating accidents are preventable and can be avoided if recreational boaters are ‘in command’ of their vessels and exercise the utmost care in operating their watercraft.

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  • Rita

    Hello to anyone that takes time to read my comment, but I was actually on the boat that just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. My one and only point is that the emphasis on ‘boaters’ needing their licenses, does not sound correct, ‘all water vehicles’ need their licenses. In fact it seems sort of funny when 4 waverunners surround a moving boat, cutting it off, getting way too close, pure recklessness. How are you supposed to pay attention to 4 different waverunners while they’re ALL being dangerous. Let alone having that small glance of a waverunner coming directly towards the right side of the boat and would hit your right shoulder in less than 20 feet. There was no alcohol on that boat. The man driving the boat has been raised on the delta with a dozen different training friends and family to teach hime everything that any boater needs to know. Plus he has had years and years of driving experience. To be honest i feel like i could drive a boat better than most boaters in the area and i’ve only been around boating for a few years. This is because my boyfriend has told me many times how reckless these boat, AND jetski drivers are, and explains to me what they’re doing wrong. I would like everyone to put themselves in the driver of the boats position. What would you have done? Stopped the boat? Then the jetski would have hit the front of the boat which had two fellow friends sitting on. My boyfriends only option was to stay where he was and take the hit, saved my two friends’ life’s to be honest. Even after he took the hit, one of the passengers in the front did fly out of the boat and landed back onto the front tip on his jaw. Then he bounced up off of it again and landed on the side of the boat from what he thinks was a good 10 feet high from the boat, creating a bird’s eyeview of the woman dying. Does anyone think they could convince me of what other choices there was for my boyfriend? I can’t, stopping the boat was my only other thought, but either way the jetski was hitting the boat because the driver had been dribing the jetski that close to the boat for more than a minute. There was plenty of witnesses when it happened, funny how they all ran off once the police came? This includes the 3 other wreckless waverunners, and the boat that my boyfriend swam the 14 yr. old boy to the close boat. My boyfriend’s very first reaction was to stop the boat while he jumped in to look for the two jetski passengers, and saw the young boy face down in the water. Sherriff’s arrived later but only came with one boat so they rushed the boy back to the marina leaving plenty of time for the witnesses on boats and jetski’s to drive away. As anyone can tell this is a sore subject to me but I hope it is acceptable to other’s considering my involvement in this freak accident. I wish to god every day that I could talk to the family and try to provide any help for them, but it seems to be too soon for them to be ready for that, which I understand greatly. Still, most all of the prayers I make are about bringing protection onto them and their entire family.

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