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.