Recreational Boating Accidents

Boating for recreational fun is a popular activity, but one that carries with it a level of risk. While fewer deaths have been reported in recent years, the statistics show that these accidents do occur and can be serious.

According to the US Coast Guard in a report from 2013, recreational boating accidents involved the following statistics:

  • 4,062 accidents
  • 560 deaths
  • 2,620 injuries
  • $39 million in property damage

While these numbers are saddening, they showed an improvement from the previous year with a decrease of 10 percent in the number of accidents reported. Death from boating accidents went down by 14 percent. Injuries were down by 12.7 percent.

Of those who died, 77 percent of fatalities occurred from drowning. Out of all the fatalities, 84 percent of the people weren’t wearing a life jacket.

The most common accidents according to the report are:

  • Collision with another recreational vessel
  • Flooding or swamping
  • Collision with a fixed object
  • Grounding
  • Issue with a skier

Certain vessels are linked to more deaths from drowning and other causes. The types of boats with the highest percentage of deaths include these:

  • Open motorboat
  • Personal watercraft
  • Cabin motorboat
  • Kayak or canoe
  • Pontoon

While drowning is the number one cause of boating fatalities, other illnesses also result in death on the water. This includes trauma, cardiac arrest or heart attack, hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Accidents can happen at any time, even when the operator is knowledgeable, and the vessel is well-maintained. However, the study shows that only 20 percent of deaths occur when the operator has been provided with instructions on boating safety.

The most common contributing factors for accidents on the open water ranked in order are as follows:

  • Operator not paying attention
  • No lookout
  • Lack of experience for operator
  • Fast speeds
  • Failure of machinery
  • Alcohol use
  • Violation of navigation rules
  • Force of the waves
  • Traveling in hazardous waters
  • Weather

When these accidents happen because of the negligence of the operator or owner of the vessel, the injured party has the right to seek compensation for expenses associated with the accident. Proving responsibility is often a complicated issue and one that requires the services of someone with experience in maritime law. Contact us if you have suffered injuries in a similar situation or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal boating accident. We are experienced in fighting for the rights of boating accident victims. Fill out the form for more information.

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