Vessel Collisions in Alabama
Alabamians are no strangers to boating accidents. Recent incidents are creating the highest rate of boating deaths in the last 20 years of Alabama’s history. By July of 2018, 14 people had died in boating accidents: nearly the number of deaths that occurred in all of 2017.
Recent Alabama boating accidents include:
- On July 22, a man crashed into a bridge’s support pylon.
The accident killed 2 people and paralyzed a third. The boat’s operator was drunk.
- On July 4, a man drove his ski boat into a bass boat.
The collision killed 2 and injured 5. The man was driving drunk and has been criminally charged.
- On April 1, two bass boats collided in the Mobile Tensaw Delta.
The accident involved no alcohol and was likely a misunderstanding of the right-of-way rules.
Causes of Alabama Boating Accidents
Boating While Intoxicated
As proven in the examples above, the combination of alcohol and boating is lethal and unfortunately common. In fact, alcohol is considered the leading cause of boating fatalities nationally. Of all 658 fatalities in 2017, about 125 were directly attributed to alcohol, or nearly 1 in 5.
It isn’t hard to obtain a boat license in Alabama. For a long time, people were not even required to obtain a license. Today, the state requires boat operators to take a written test before being able to operate a boat. Notably, you can be as young as 12 years old and operate a boat. Unlike drivers’ license tests, the test to be licensed does not require applicants to operate a boat to verify their abilities. Children, unlicensed adults, and inexperienced operators are all sharing the waterways of Alabama.
Just as with a car on the road, the weather can change safety conditions on the water. Storms may cause rough waters that force vessels to take on water. This means that boats are liable to capsize or even sink in rough waters. In fact, in the recent duck boat accident that killed 17 people, including 2 from Alabama, rough waters caused the tourist boat to sink.
While many own their own boat and take pride in their skill, inexperienced boaters often rent vessels. Little commitment or experience lead to thrill-seeking as renters aggressively push boats past their legal and mechanical limits. As a result, these boaters put everyone else at risk.
False Sense of Security
While out on Alabama waters, it’s easy to feel safe in your boat due to the water’s wide open spaces. This false sense of security leads drivers to misunderstand their boat’s distance from other vessels. As boats are hard to stop, operators can fail to give an adequate amount of stopping distance as they approach other objects. While a lake may feel large and serene, it’s important to remember this does not mean all is safe.
Alabama Boat Attorneys with a History of Victories
When a tragic event occurs on the water due to the careless action of others, it is time to find help. Arnold & Itkin’s experienced team of Alabama personal injury attorneys has helped hundreds of people who have suffered a catastrophic injury or wrongful death. We have a history of victories that prove our dedication to helping victims get their lives back on track. When tragedy strikes, we are here to help you pick up the pieces.
If you have been injured in an accident, call our attorneys at (888) 493-1629. We will help you discuss your best options.