Louisiana Boating Accident Lawyers
Serving Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Port Fourchon & the Entire U.S.
Most accidents involve passenger vehicles or motorcycles, but thousands of boating accidents still occur every year in the United States, more than 10% of those being fatal. Though Louisiana lakes and the nearby Gulf of Mexico make for great recreational boating locations and the state's Gulf Coast has a thriving maritime industry, it is still important to note the dangers of boating and that if you’ve experienced a wrongful injury or death of a loved one on a boat, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the party or parties responsible.
Notable Boating Accident Statistics
In comparison to some of the more prevalent motor vehicle accidents, boating accidents are about 20% as common. Still, the recreational activity does have the potential to host catastrophic injuries or deaths, especially in boaters who fail to appreciate its dangers and jeopardize others.
A compilation of data from the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety was compiled in 2015. This report is called the Recreational Boating Statistics.
The report found the following:
- The U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,158 boating accidents total in the year 2015.
- 2,613 of those accidents resulted in injury.
- 626 of the total number accidents resulted in fatality.
- Louisiana accounted for 87 of the total boating accidents, 39 of the injuries, and 20 of the fatalities.
- The year 1997 saw a total of 8,047 boating accidents in the United States.
- When compared to the total in 2015, boating accidents have almost been cut in half in the last 20 years.
- Alcohol is the primary contributing factor for boating fatalities, accounting for 17% of them.
- 80% of boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.
Especially if you were injured in a boat accident where you believe the fault to be alcohol or negligence, you should contact our Louisiana vessel crash lawyers. The sooner we can conduct your free case evaluation, the sooner we can begin our investigation into who or what entity may be liable for damages.
What Makes Boating Dangerous in Louisiana
While most boat accidents are caused by operator error or alcohol, there are many factors in boating that cannot be avoided. Traveling on water poses natural threats, and boaters should take them into consideration.
Some of the most problematic of these include:
Exposure to severe weather:
While traveling in a car during most storms is still achievable, boats are more exposed to the weather. Even if you are sheltered on a boat, it is still subject to the throws of the water. Large waves and choppy water can lead to capsizing and drowning in the violent water.
Difficulty in boat operation:
Boats do not have the same braking systems as land vehicles have. A boat cannot come to a complete, abrupt stop as needed. Additionally, boats cannot as easily swerve obstacles. This means that collisions are harder to avoid, and boaters need more time for maneuvering.
More lenient licensing:
Obtaining a boating license in some states is either unnecessary or much easier to do than for a driver’s license. Many boaters do not know how to take the proper safety measures or handle the boat in a sudden emergency. This leads to more lives becoming endangered.
Louisiana Boat Capsizing Accidents
While boats can take a beating out at sea, they can only handle too much. Inexperienced operation and heading out in dangerous weather can make boats prone to capsizing. One of the most frustrating parts of capsizing accidents in Louisiana is that they're completely preventable.
Causes of Louisiana boat capsizing accidents include:
- Operator inexperience
- A lack of training
- Heading out despite severe weather warnings
- Improperly loaded boats
While all types of vessels should avoid situations that can cause capsizing, commercial operators are especially responsible for protecting their crews. No one deserves to be placed in a dangerous situation because their employer placed profits above safety.
The Capsizing of the Seacor Power Near Grand Isle
On April 13, 2021, the Seacor Power was off the coast of Louisiana when it encountered severe weather. The 128-foot vessel capsized, causing nearby good Samaritan vessels and the Coast Guard to respond in a search for survivors. By the morning of April 14, 6 people had been rescued from the water and an additional 12 were thought to be missing. One person was found dead. The Seacor Power is a type of lift boat that's commonly used throughout the Gulf Coast. It's used to assist the drilling industry, help with construction, and work in deep and shallow water for other offshore uses. Weather that day was extreme. Winds in excess of 60 mph accompanied between 3 to 5 inches of rain. Some gusts of 117 mph—approximately 101 knots—were recorded. Notably, smaller vessels are at risk of capsizing in winds of 34 knots and larger vessels will begin to experience difficulty navigating.
Are Companies Liable for Boat Accidents Caused by Weather?
Yes, companies are responsible for ensuring their crews are not facing increased risks caused by severe weather. If there's a chance of extreme weather, vessel owners and operators are obligated to turn back to shore. On the day that the Seacor Power capsized, the U.S. Coast Guard had issued a warning of "significant hazards to life and property." In other words, there was warning that the boat should not have gone out that afternoon.
Obtaining Legal Representation from Our Louisiana Boat Crash Lawyers
The skilled legal team at Arnold & Itkin is experienced with investigating accidents on the water, and we can employ our training and to demand compensation for your injuries. Our team of Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys can conduct a free evaluation of your case and walk you through every step of the process.
If you have been injured in a boating accident in Louisiana, call (888) 493-1629 for nationally acclaimed personal injury representation you can trust.