Boating Accidents in Mississippi
With the nation’s largest river serves as its western border, water is integral to Mississippi. As steamboats carrying goods ran up and down the Mississippi during the 19th century, Mississippi played a crucial role in the nation’s economy. Major transportation routes along the river built this state in its earliest days as the 20th state in the Union. Today, the various waterways of Mississippi are still used for commerce and pleasure.
According to the Coast Guard’s recreational boating statistics for 2017, Mississippi waters saw a total of 34 boat accidents. Of these accidents, 17 percent were fatal, and 6 people lost their lives. Nationally, 4,291 accidents were reported, and 658 people were killed. More than half of the accidents resulted in injuries. Each one of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented with proper precautions.
Our Mississippi boat accident attorneys have seen the following common causes for boat accidents:
Alcohol (Boating Under the Influence)
Many boating accidents happen in a recreational setting, where drinking is acceptable or expected. This means that alcohol is often involved to some extent in many accidents. In fact, a large number of boat accidents in Mississippi are caused by drinking alcohol while operating a boat. In 2017, 19 percent of boating fatalities were directly caused by drunk driving. Responsible drinking alone could reduce boat deaths by 1 in 5.
Mississippi law requires that any individual born after June 30, 1980 must complete a safety course before operating a boat in Mississippi. However, completion of a course is not always a sign of experience. Anyone who is willing to pay for an online course can obtain a boating card online without any experience. Additionally, there is no age requirement to obtain a Mississippi boating license. Young children can operate boats with the supervision of anyone 21 years of age or older.
When inexperienced boat operators aren’t provided with careful supervision, the results can be disastrous. Boats do not stop as quickly as land vehicles, so it is easy to misjudge how long it can take to stop a vessel. Inexperience often leads to a collision due to a failure to stop a boat in time.
Bad weather causes hazardous conditions that are difficult for even experienced operators to manage. When water is choppy, a boat can take on water, capsize, or even sink. In fact, the recent duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri happened in the choppy waters of a sudden summer storm. The accident took the lives of 17 people who were taking a tour of the lake.
We’ve already established that boat licenses are easy to obtain in Mississippi—weekend warriors often take advantage of this fact. The recreational boating community is filled with individuals who own their boat, take pride in it, and follow safety standards to help protect all on the water. Unfortunately, many people sharing the water with responsible owners are renting their vessel as a weekend toy.
The excitement of operating a boat leads inexperienced drivers to put people around them in danger. Sometimes, boat renters drive at unsafe speeds and make dangerous maneuvers in pursuit of a thrill.
Boating often occurs on wide open bodies of water. This can lend an abundance of confidence and lead to lapses in judgement. Feeling safe on the water, drivers often misjudge distance and travel at too high a speed. Many do not realize that boat crashes can be just as devastating as auto accidents and fail to exercise caution like they do on the road.
Our Mississippi Boat Accident Attorneys Have Answers
Suffering a tragedy during a recreational event is devastating. When injuries occur, or lives are lost, victims are forced to unfairly pay for a few moments with the rest of their lives. Arnold & Itkin understands what is at stake when someone experiences an accident that is the fault of another. Our Mississippi boating accident attorneys have won billions in results for our clients. We will fight for the maximum amount of recovery for every client we work with. You’ve experienced enough difficulties—call us for help today.
If you or a loved one was involved in a boating accident, call our lawyers today at (888) 493-1629. We will consult you on your best options, free of charge.