Most people place “owning a boat” on their vision board of things they would love to do before they die. While spending the day relaxing on the water can be the ultimate dream come true, what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare?
Boating accidents are on the rise, ruining the perfect day that many people had planned. In fact, in 2016 there were over 4,000 accidents reported by the Coast Guard, with 701 of these resulting in fatalities.
With thousands more injuries and over $49 million worth of damages annually, boating accidents are nothing to ignore. When people take the time to understand what causes these accidents so that they can boat more safely, they can continue to enjoy their time on the water.
7 of the Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents
- Distracted operating. By far, the increasingly most common cause of boating accidents is due to operator inattention. By nature, boats are prone to distractions from riders, the scenery, and the urge to lean back and relax.
But drivers of a boat have a lot to be alert to, including the weather, the boat itself and any other objects in the water, and the boat’s passengers. Nature is unpredictable and the driver must be constantly vigilant as to changes in the wind or water. Early warning signs can mean the difference between safety and danger.
- Inexperienced drivers. When someone who is not experienced in boating laws and rules is driving, there is an increased risk of an accident. To operate a boat, you must be fully educated in the laws, rules, and basic emergency procedures.
- Speeding. Speeding while operating any vehicle is dangerous, but boating at safe speeds has an increased importance. Because a lot of dangerous obstacles are hidden under the water, speeding leaves the driver with little chance to react and avoid the hazard.
- Use of alcohol. Often, the use of alcohol while operating a boat results in catastrophic consequences. Although this is not the number one factor that causes accidents, it tends to be the deadliest. Operating a boat under the use of alcohol is subject to the same penalties as driving under the influence in most states and constitutes many of the boating accident lawsuits taken to court.
If you were a victim of a boating accident due to someone operating a boat under the influence, you should seek advice from a professional attorney. Go to website or call for a consultation to see what rights you are entitled to.
- Machinery breakdown. Failure of important pieces of machinery such as the steering mechanism or the motor results in many accidents. To avoid this, the boat owner should ensure that they provide routine checks, just like with a car.
- Hazardous waters. Operators of boats should pay attention to signs and warnings of rough waters, but sometimes these are unpredictable. Changes in the currents can make steering a boat difficult, so a boat operator should always be alert for warning signs.
- Weather conditions. Before heading out on a boat for the day, always check the weather. Days that start out sunny and calm don’t always stay that way. Abrupt changes in the weather can make it difficult to navigate a boat back to shore and safety.
Be a Safe Boater – Know the Signs
Operating a boat requires vigilance and responsible behavior. When a driver is distracted, under the influence, or inexperienced, accidents can happen, and those accidents can be serious.
If you were injured in a boating accident, you are not alone. Contact an attorney today to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injury.