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Bringing Attention to Boat Safety Week in Light of Recent Tragedies

That time of the year is once again upon us. With Memorial Day just around the corner the summer boating season has arrived. In just a few short weeks, the season will be in full swing, with all the excitement and anticipation the season has to offer. However, while boating season brings good times and fond memories, inevitably it also brings preventable accidents and senseless tragedies.

Since 1958, the National Safe Boating Council has worked tirelessly to educate boaters about safety, covering everything from personal protective equipment to the importance of weather forecasting. Each year, National Safe Boating Week is held in order to bring attention to the importance of boating safety. This year is no different, with National Safe Boating Week being held from May 22nd – May 28th.

However, despite the efforts of groups like the National Safe Boating Council and law enforcement agencies given the responsibility to patrol our waters, preventable accidents happen. Each year, thousands of pleasure boats hit our beaches, lakes and rivers. Unfortunately, what starts out as an outing with family and friends for many, will end in lives lost and tragic consequences for some. Whether it be lack of training and experience, failure to maintain safe control, failure to obey posted navigational aides, or, most prominently, alcohol and/or drug consumption, boating accidents are all too frequent and to a large extent preventable.

Just last year, in October 2009, what started as a boating trip amongst friends ended in tragedy right here in New York, when a boat operated by George Canni ran aground on Goose Island, killing Mr. Canni and his wife Theresa, along with one passenger, and seriously injuring four other passengers, all of whom were ejected from the boat.

Stephen J. Murphy, of the law firm of Block O’Toole & Murphy, who represents two of the injured passengers noted “This tragedy did not have to happen”. An investigation revealed that the operator, Mr. Canni, was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident and failed to keep a proper lookout. “What began as a pleasant evening ended in a senseless tragedy that has devastated the lives of four families” added attorney Joseph Donahue of Block O’Toole & Murphy.

So here we are again. The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and countless boaters are getting their boats ready for a season filled with fun and excitement. Hopefully, the same people entrusted with the safety of their passengers and fellow boaters will also take the time to heed the warnings of past tragedies.

Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that specializes in representing victims of catastrophic injuries. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured as a result of an accident, contact us for a free consultation at 212-736-5300 and feel free to visit our website at