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
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.
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
If you or someone you know has been involved in a boating accident, our
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.
(855) 338-0720 or contact us online
to speak with an attorney.