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Boy Scouts Tragically Killed In Boating Accident: Was Negligence Involved?


Tragically, on August 5th, two Boy Scouts—ages 16 and 18—were killed and another (age 11) critically injured when their sailboat hit an overhead power line and reportedly electrocuted the boys. Officers are still looking into the accident, but say that the preliminary investigation revealed that the sailboat came into contact with the power line. The boys were at a troop campout at a private residence.

The Boy Scouts, like any other outfit that is in charge of taking minors out on excursions, owed these boys a duty to provide a reasonably safe program without any unusual dangers or risks involved. While investigators have not yet revealed to what extent those in charge of the trip had the proper training and who allowed these three boys to take a sailing boat out, on their own, and we need to know more at this point, surely someone is responsible for three boys taking a sailboat out on their own and entering such dangerous circumstances?

Assumption of Risk Doctrine

Scouts are considered to have voluntarily assumed certain risks associated with athletic activities when it comes to scout outings like these. Known as the assumption of risk doctrine, there is generally no legal duty to eliminate or protect participants against inherent risks in certain sports or activities.

However, the assumption of risk doctrine has its limits:  Although two of the scouts were ages 16 and 18, the other was only 11 years old; arguably, there is a greater duty for the adult scout leaders to look out for the well-being of the 11-year-old, who is presumed to be less able to assume risk in an activity like this.

What about Any Landowners?

In this case, the boys were reportedly at a campout at a private residence. Thus, the owner of the residence could potentially be held liable for injuries to campers that occur on their property, even if caused by circumstances as unusual as these. 

Liability Waivers?

Boy Scouts of America typically has its participants sign consent forms that contain liability waivers releasing the organization from liability from any injuries that occur from participating in camping trips. However, as a matter of public policy, courts do not always uphold liability waivers insofar as there is gross negligence or reckless conduct that leads to injury or death.

Boat Accident Attorneys Serving Florida

If you or a loved one has suffered in a boating accident due to negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away to ensure that your rights are protected. The personal injury attorneys at Lavalle Brown & Ronan can help: located in Boca Raton, we’ve worked on thousands of cases to help recover for our injured clients and clients who have been the victims of wrongful death. Contact us today for a free consultation.  

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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