While boating is a popular sport, there are some risks associated with operating a motorized boat. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that 613 people died in accidents involving motorized vessels in 2019. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 4,168 accidents that resulted in 613 deaths in 2019. Boating accidents also caused 2,559 injuries, and $55million in property damage.
This article will provide a deeper look at common causes of boating accidents as well as what you should do if you are ever involved. This article will help you understand the role of a lawyer in a boating accident case and why it is important to get a lawyer for your boat injuries immediately following an accident.
BOATING ACCIDENTS: COMMON CAUSES
While boating is a great experience, it can be easy for you to lose your mind. Collisions can often happen when you least expect them. Here are the most common causes for boating accidents.
Operator inattention was the number one contributing factor to boating accidents in 2019; just like driving a car, operating a maritime vessel while distracted can result in severe consequences.
You can’t focus on the water if you use your cellphone, eat, or adjust the GPS. It can be dangerous to divert your attention from the water, even if you do so briefly. Water conditions can change in a flash.
Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant problem, contributing to nearly half of all boating accidents. The most fatal factor is alcohol, with 113 deaths from it in 2019.
The next most fatal accident was dangerous waters, which contributed to 48 deaths.
Alcohol aboard recreational boats is quite common due to their leisurely nature. It’s not difficult for drivers to join passengers who enjoy a few beers in the sun. Even a few drinks can cause serious impairments to your judgement, posing a risk of death or serious injury.
Accidents can and will happen if you don’t keep an eye on your surroundings.
U.S. Navigation Rules require that every vessel “maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as using all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions to make a full appraisal of the situation.” U.S. Navigation Rules require that every vessel “maintain an adequate look-out by sight, hearing, and all other means appropriate in the prevailing conditions and conditions to make an accurate assessment of the situation and to assess the risk of collision.”
This involves looking out for boats, bridge clearances and logs as well as other hazards. This is a very important role and you would prefer to have another passenger as your lookout.
Boating accidents are also caused by operator inexperience. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 70 percent of fatalities in boating accidents are due to lack of safety training and operator experience.
This compares to just 20 percent of accidents involving vessels whose operators were nationally certified for boating safety.
When responding to emergencies, it is crucial that operators have experience. Operators must be able to adapt to changing conditions and ensure safety for all aboard.
High speeds are a recipe to disaster when operating a boat. There are many dangers associated with speeding, including:
Choppy waves can cause capsizing
It is difficult to identify submerged rocks and other hazards
Increased stopping time
You have less time to react to and maneuver around hazards
Property damage and injuries are getting more severe
When deciding on a safe operating speed, operators must consider many factors such as visibility, weather and traffic conditions.
If your boat doesn’t work properly, you can be left stranded along with your passengers. You must inspect your boat before you leave the shore.
Check your hull, outdrive, lines, hoses, batteries, oil, fuel, cooling and electrical systems. Regular maintenance and inspection will reduce the chance of your vessel breaking down. Do not forget to bring along essential tools and spare parts.
JET SKIS & BOATING ACCIDENTS
A personal watercraft is a smaller type of vessel that is used for recreational purposes such as jet skis. These boats are easy to maneuver and small enough that they are very popular among boating enthusiasts.
Police officers and rangers can also benefit from the speed and maneuverability of jet skis while they patrol or conduct various legal enforcement activities.
Why Jet Skis Are So Dangerous
Jet skis can be more dangerous than other boats, despite being popular and enjoyable to use. Jet ski accidents made up 20% of the total number of recreational boating accidents in 2019–ranking second to only open motorboats as the vessel type with the most incidents.
These are just a few reasons jet skis can be so dangerous.
Reckless operation: Top speeds of 65 mph and higher are possible due to the lighter weight and powerful jet engines. The ease of mobility can lead people to be reckless and overconfident. They may “jump” large boat wakes or weave in and out of traffic jams.
Jet ski designNewer jet skis can be flipped over easily, even though they are stable. This is especially true when you are cruising at high speeds. Jet skis are more susceptible to injury than a motorcycle, as there is no way to prevent you from falling off or flying off of the boat.
Even at moderate speeds, the steering column could collide with your head or chest.
Training is lackingPersonal watercraft are easy to operate. Jet skis are allowed to be operated by operators under 12 years old in certain states. These personal watercraft are easy to operate and may be tempting for thrill-seeking drivers who don’t have the right training.
WeatherJet skis aren’t as protected as larger vessels. It is extremely dangerous to navigate in stormy weather because of their size and lack of safety features. You could be seriously injured if your jet ski is thrown off the water.
Common Jet Ski Accident Injuries
A variety of injuries can be sustained by jet skiers who are involved in an accident.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Abrasions and bruises
Consult a lawyer if you have suffered any of these injuries in a boating or jet ski accident.
These injuries can often have long-lasting consequences that impact every aspect of your daily life. An experienced boat accident attorney can help you get the best compensation.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A BOATING INCIDENT
These are the steps to take after a boating accident, regardless of whether you are a passenger or operator.
Contact Emergency Services
After an emergency, check to make sure everyone is okay. Next, make sure there aren’t any serious injuries. Contact emergency services immediately if anyone is hurt or the boat is damaged.
Report an Accident
The reporting requirements for boating incidents will vary between states. If the boating incident resulted in one of the following, federal law requires that you file a report with U.S. Coast Guard
More than just first aid for injuries
Death or disappearance of a person
Property or vessels damaged by more than $2,000
Do not forget to document the accident
You will need to collect information about the accident. Photograph the surrounding area, including any injuries or damages and any weather conditions.
You should also ensure that you get the registration and insurance details for the boat operator. You should also collect the contact details of all parties.
Seek medical attention
It can seem that you are fine after an accident. Some symptoms may appear days later. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, it is a good idea to visit your doctor.
An accident medical record will help you establish a causal connection between the accident and your injuries.
Consult aBoating Accident Attorney
To help you navigate the legal process, consult a boat lawyer. They will advise you on the best legal options so that you don’t make costly mistakes when pursuing compensation for your boating accident.
HOW TOBOATING ACCIDENT LAWYERCAN HELP
An experienced boat lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of a case involving a boating accident.
You must prove negligence or malicious intent to receive compensation for a boating accident.
This means that you have to prove that someone owed you care and that they acted in an act that violated that duty.
It is difficult to determine who was responsible for an accident. A collision involving multiple boats could result in many parties being liable.
You must consider other factors such as weather and the condition of your vessel. Even passengers, the boat manufacturer or boat rental company can cause accidents.
Operators of boats are not required to have liability insurance in most states. Boat insurance may be an option for operators to protect against any damage.
A boating accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies to get you a fair settlement. An attorney can also help you decide whether to take legal action against the responsible party.
You can see that there are many moving pieces to a boating accident case. An attorney will review your case and gather evidence to create a strategy.
You can rest assured knowing that a lawyer is representing your interests while you are recovering from your injuries.