Vessel Slip and Falls Caused By Poorly Maintained Decks by William Turley

California Maritime Slip and Fall Lawyer: Vessel Slip and Falls Caused By Poorly Maintained Decks

by: William Turley

Slip and Fall accidents are the second leading cause of accidental death. The only greater cause of death is automobile accidents. When people reach their sixties, slip and fall accidents become the leading cause of death in the U.S. Slip and fall accidents are also one of the leading causes of injury aboard vessels.

Most vessel slip and fall injuries are preventable. We have found that most vessel slip and fall injuries are caused by the failure to properly maintain decks, ladders and stairways. This article focuses on slip and fall accidents on vessel decks.

Whether the vessel is a mega-cruise ship, a harbor cruise vessel, a sport fishing boat or a center console; one thing they all have in common are slip and fall accidents on poorly maintained decks. The vessel's deck, is one of the important and vital parts of a vessel. Reasonable care must be given in order to prevent needless slip and fall accidents. After all, all the crew members and passengers must use the vessel decks in order to use the vessel.

Failing to Maintain Deck Surfaces

When vessel decks are not maintained properly, crew members and passengers are more likely to have slip and fall type accidents. A well maintained deck will usually have some type of anti-skid surface. Obviously it is foreseeable that vessel decks will get wet. When decks do get wet, they can be very, very slippery if not maintained properly. Gelcoat decks are very, very slippery when wet. Because of this, non-skid material must be applied to the gelcoat deck. A gelcoat deck without a nonskid surface is extremely dangerous.

Sometimes, the vessel has the proper surface, but deck areas get worn down due to heavy traffic. When this occurs the vessel deck can become slippery as ice.

All deck surfaces, including non-skid decks require routine maintenance in order to be safe. A non-skid surface which gets frequent traffic will quickly start building up dirt and grime. With build-up a vessel deck becomes slippery in no time. Unlike other gelcoat surfaces on a vessel, you can't wax a gelcoat deck surface. As soon as it gets wet a waxed deck turns into a sheet of ice. Also, cleaners such as bleach, detergents, abrasives, etc.; will soon prematurely wear out the non-skid surface.

Thus, the only way to keep a well traveled non-skid deck in good condition is to wash it every day with soapy water. Care must be taken to wash all the soap off during the cleaning process. Otherwise, the soapy deck is slippery. Then a non-skid deck More Information cleaner needs to be used.


Most slip and fall accidents are preventable. When vessel decks are not maintained properly they are slippery and dangerous. When someone is seriously injured by a poorly maintained vessel deck the vessel may be legally responsible for the crew members or passengers injuries.


This article is not legal advice. This article is simplistic in order to be clear. Any resemblance herein to real events or cases is purely coincidental. If you or a family member is involved in a serious vessel slip and fall accident, you should consult with a California maritime slip and fall lawyer. When you bring a court case, your credibility is always questioned. You should always tell the truth.