According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2016, there were 4,463 accidents that involved 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries and approximately $49 million of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Racing around the lake with friends and family can be a great experience, but it’s important to remember it can also be dangerous. Take measures to prevent common boating accidents by learning more about them.

Below are the 7 most common reasons for boating accidents, in order:

1. Operator Inattention

Operator inattention was the leading cause of U.S. recreational boating accidents in 2016. As a boat operator, you are required to stay vigilant and constantly monitor your boat and those around you on the water. Get rid of distractions such as eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, cell phones, and other actions that may deter your focus.

2. Operator Inexperience

As the operator of boat, you are required to understand the basics of boating and rules of navigation. Before you get on the water, learn about basic maintenance, boating laws and fixes to common boat problems. A beginner may lack the experience necessary to make a good judgement call when needed. A boater unsure of weather conditions and water hazards can put everyone in serious danger.

3. Improper Lookout

You don’t have 360° vision, so a proper lookout to watch for threats and hazards is essential for safety. An improper lookout led to 475 accidents in 2016.

4. Excessive Speed

Just like on the road, excessive speeds on the water leave you with little time to react. An accident at high speeds can throw passengers from the boat down onto the deck or into the water, causing serious injuries. Follow the rules of the water to stay safe.

5. Machinery Failure

Keep your boat in the best condition possible by regularly maintaining it. An inspection should be done before every single trip to avoid potential machinery failure.

6. Alcohol Use

Although alcohol use is 6th on the list, it is actually the lead contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; 12% of the total deaths in 2016 were directly linked to alcohol. If you are the navigator of the boat, do not drink alcohol before or during operation. If you are a passenger, do not get into a boat with a drunk operator or, better yet, stop them from operating a boat if possible.

7. Weather

Weather is notoriously unpredictable. Remember to check the forecast before you head out and assess whether or not you and your passengers will be safe on the water. If you end up in treacherous waters unexpectedly, don’t panic—check your safety equipment and create a strategy.

If you plan on getting out on the water, take precautions to avoid an accident, injuries and possibly death. Avoid alcohol, wear a life jacket, get properly trained, prepare your boat, double check your safety equipment, don’t overload your boat, stay at the speed limit, and check the forecast before heading out.

Get Help After A Boating Accident

If you or someone you know has been involved in a boating accident, our experienced Orlando boating accident lawyers can review your case and answer questions you might have. The Maher Law Firm can help you pursue legal action in order to seek compensation. We can handle all the details of your personal injury claim on your behalf.

Call(407) 839-0866 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.