Boating accidents are devastating. When they occur, a fun day on the water becomes a nightmare that causes injury and, in the worst cases, death. According to the United States Coast Guard, 4,291 recreational boating accidents occurred in 2017. These accidents caused a total of 658 death and injured 2,629 people. Below, we discuss the common reasons that these accidents occur:
Boating While Drinking (BUI)
Alcohol is the leading cause of accident in recreational boating. Many Americans use boats to unwind and enjoy a day of recreation on the open water. Unfortunately, their relaxation often includes an excessive amount of alcohol. In 2017, boating under the influence accounted for 19 percent of all recreational boating accidents.
Having a designated boat operator and limiting the amount of drinking while on the water might have saved 125 lives in 2017 alone.
Unlike other motor vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles, most states do not have strict licensing requirements to operate a boat. If a license is required, it can often be obtained without ever actually handling a boat. A license can be easily obtained by someone looking to rent a boat after taking a quick online safety course. Boat renters are often some of the most dangerous operators on the water due to their inexperience handling a boat, which (unlike a car or motorcycle) has no brakes. Up to 81 percent of boating fatalities are linked to instances where the operator has had no safety instruction.
Safety courses do not provide the real-world experience required to operate a boat. As a result, America’s waterways are filled with weekend warriors who dangerously operate rented boats. With a lack of respect for the dangers of boating, these drivers often attempt unsafe maneuvers. New boat drivers often fail to lookout, utilize safe speeds, and accurately judge the distance needed to stop a boat as it glides across the water’s surface.
Lack of Safety Equipment Onboard
According to the Coast Guard, 76 percent of boating deaths are caused by drowning. Boats are either not properly stocked with lifejackets or passengers fail to wear them. Notably, two-thirds are of those who drown are proficient at swimming. When someone is injured, they usually lose their ability to swim well enough to save their own life during an accident. Lifejackets have the potential to lower boating fatalities by 66 percent.
If you have been injured in a boat accident, call the boat accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin for a free consultation. If we take your case, you do not pay unless we win!