Who should ultimately be held responsible when accidents happen on chartered party boats?

Who’s responsible for any injuries or damages if passengers are hurt during a chartered party cruise on Puget Sound I have booked for my upcoming wedding?



Weddings, private parties, business events, and themed cruises are just a few common types of events that take place on the numerous chartered boat lines throughout Seattle’s Puget Sound. At any given time, dozens of passengers board these vessels looking to have a great time and enjoy the experience. However, in the midst of laughter, music, good food and drink, and great company, accidents can happen. In these moments, a party can quickly turn into a nightmare for everyone onboard.

Because boating accident injuries can be caused by many different reasons, there are a few things to understand about liability. Speaking with a skilled and knowledgeable boating accident attorney can provide you the information that specifically relates to your specific circumstances.

When chartering a boat, there are different kinds of charter agreements:

  • Bareboat charter. This occurs when an individual charters a boat without a captain or crew included in the rental costs. In these cases, the patron assumes temporary possession of the boat.
  • Time charter or voyage charter. This type of agreement involves chartering a vessel with the captain and/or crew being provided by the boat owner. In this case, the boat owner would retain possession of the vessel via the paid crewmembers.
  • Skippered charter. This lease would commonly occur with larger boats or yachts, and most always includes a professional “skipper” who is trained to properly handle the boat.

Because the arrangements to charter a vessel can vary, liability can also vary for different reasons. In many cases, one or more parties could be held liable when accidents and injuries occur.

  • Owner of the vessel. The owner is responsible for properly maintaining the ship to keep it in good working condition. The owner must take reasonable precautions to help prevent foreseeable accidents.
  • Captain and crew. All hired crew members have a legal responsibility to follow all maritime laws, be properly educated on the workings of the vessel, and clearly explain emergency information to passengers.
  • The boat lessee. This is you. You must be sure to obey all ship rules and prevent any illegal use of the ship. If you host a party on a boat and allow alcohol to be served to minors, you could be held responsible if something happens to that underage individual.
  • Charter broker company. Usually, any liability attributed to the broker company would be connected to problems with a contract or leasing agreement.

At Andrew Kim Law, we understand the complexities of maritime law. The success of your legal pursuits may be determined by who you have defending your legal rights. Keeping your passengers safe on a boating excursion may become a little easier when you understand passenger safety and renter liability. To learn more about your role in keeping your guests safe while onboard, please fill out an online time to request a free consultation today.