Jet Ski | Boat | Marine Product Defects and Liability

Jet Ski / Boat / Marine product liability claims are based not on negligence, but rather on common law theory of negligence. Under the theory of strict liability, a boat, vessel or product manufacturer is held liable regardless of whether it acted negligently. This theory allows for recovery by an injured customer who might be in a difficult position to prove what a manufacturer did or did not do in its design or manufacturing process. It is presumed that a manufacturer with its deep pockets may be better situated to absorb the cost of liability and would consider such expense in setting price for its products.

Negligence concepts include the following: negligence per se (manufacturer's violation of a law, regulation, etc.) and res ipsa loquitur (some form of conditional negligence).

Examples of Boat, Jet Ski, or Marine Products Liability Cases:

  • Defective restraint systems
  • Defective product design
  • Defective manufacturing design causing crash, drowning, or dangerous operation
  • Poor crash rating or crashworthiness
  • Structural defects in vessel design


The term "vessel" includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on the water. Terms used to describe the various types of watercraft include: airboats, auxiliary sailboats, cabin motorboats, canoes, fishing boats, houseboats, inflatable boats, kayaks, open motorboats, personal watercrafts, pontoon boats, rafts, rowboats, and sailboats.

A vessel is considered to be involved in a "boating accident" and may be subject to review as a Product Liability case whenever a death, missing person, personal injury, property damage, or total vessel loss results from the vessel's operation, construction, seaworthiness, equipment, or machinery.