Published On: Mon, Oct 19th, 2020

What is the Most Common Cause of Boating Accidents?

Boating is a popular recreational activity, and it also provides an income for many families around the world. According to the United States Coast Guard, there were 4,168 boating accidents in the United States in 2019, resulting in 613 deaths, 2,559 people hurt, and around $55 million in property damage. The Coast Guard also lists the following five contributing factors as the top causes of boating accidents.

1. Operator Inattention

In 2019, there were 546 accidents caused by operator inattention. In those accidents, 36 people died and 296 were injured. There is no question that there are many distractions while boating, from the passengers on the boat to the scenery you may view as you are riding along. Boat operators are required to pay attention to the weather, other boats, passengers, and much more just as the driver of a car is supposed to do the same. When a boat operator is not paying attention, it is easy for an accident to happen.

2. Improper Lookout

The second most common cause of boat accidents in the United States is improper lookout, which caused 506 accidents in 2019, resulting in 425 injuries and 26 deaths. It’s important to keep a proper lookout when you’re operating a boat. When the boat operator is busy doing something else on the boat, they may ask another passenger to “lookout” for them. If the lookout fails to see a threat or hazard, it could lead to an accident.

3. Operator Inexperience

According to the Coast Guard, 70 percent of the deaths that occurred in 2019 occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Only 20 percent of the 39 deaths in 2019 were on boats where the operator completed a nationally-approved boating safety course. Driver inexperience led to 458 accidents and, in addition to the deaths, caused 273 injuries in 2019.

4. Excessive Speed

Just as you must adhere to a speed limit while driving your car, you must also do so when you are behind the wheel of a boat. In 2019, 22 people died in boats that were exceeding safe speeds, and 325 people died in the 358 accidents where excessive speed was listed as a factor. Traveling too fast in a boat can lead to collisions with other boats, striking hazards in the water, or rolling the boat over.

5. Alcohol

Although alcohol only caused 282 accidents in 2019, it was the leading cause of death in boating accidents that year. The Coast Guard reported that 113 people died and 221 were injured in boating accidents where alcohol was listed as a factor. Overall, alcohol accounted for 23 percent of all deaths in boating accidents in 2019. 

In most states, the alcohol limit for vehicle drivers is the same for boat operators. If a boat operator has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over 0.08 percent, they are considered as driving under the influence. In some states, a boat operator who is under the influence could lose their vehicle driver’s license as well as their license to operate a boat if one exists in their state. They may also have to undergo alcohol education classes, face court costs and fines, and possibly face jail time.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you can visit this link to request a free consultation with a personal injury attorney who has practiced maritime law for 19 years. You need to work with a lawyer who specializes in boating accidents and injuries to make sure you get the compensation you may be owed according to the law. 

About the Author

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>