Boat Accidents And Injuries
With nearly 12 million registered recreational vessels throughout the country, boating is a popular pastime. Boating can be an excellent way to spend a hot summer afternoon. There is nothing better than heading out on Lake Erie with family or friends, but it can also be hazardous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2019 alone, 4,168 boat accidents resulted in 2,559 injuries and 613 fatalities.
Common Causes Of Boating Accidents
- Negligent or Reckless Boat Operators: Many owners navigate their boats irresponsibly or carelessly, leading to unnecessary accidents in the water. This can include various actions or inactions, such as violating low wake rules, overloading a boat, failing to notice other boats in their vicinity, failing to yield to another watercraft, neglecting to maintain a safe distance from other vessels, or overall inattention by the operator.
- Speeding: Navigating any watercraft at excessive speeds can be a recipe for disaster. Numerous accidents occur because boaters lose control of the watercraft at high speeds. Navigators must consider various factors, including weather, visibility, and overall congestion, when determining a safe operating speed.
- Boating Under the Influence: According to the New York Navigation Law § 49-a, the operation of any vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. Boaters can be deemed legally intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. In 2018, alcohol use was responsible for 254 boating accidents, 101 fatalities, and 204 injuries.
- Inexperienced Skippers: Often, operators lack the skills and experience required to navigate a boat safely. Incompetence can result in capsizing in choppy waves, failure to identify submerged rocks or other hazards, and attempting overly sharp turns.
- Passenger Carelessness: An operator is responsible for all passengers on their boat. Passengers must remain seated while the boat is moving. Sitting in inappropriate places on the boat can obstruct the navigator’s line of sight.
When captains follow basic waterway rules and take proper precautions, it can significantly reduce your chances of suffering a severe or fatal boat accident. By simply avoiding the above common causes of accidents, boating trips can be safe and filled with lots of unforgettable memories.
Contact the Dietrich Law Firm P.C., Recognized as a Best Law Firm of America
Unlike car crashes, boating accidents present unique challenges because they lack witnesses, and the evidence may have sunk. That is why you need the knowledge and expertise of a battle-tested personal injury attorney. Jed Dietrich, Esq., famed as an American Institute of Trial Lawyers Litigator of the Year, and his top rated team of lawyers are highly experienced in determining the proper steps to take after a boating accident. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s elite attorneys can be reached 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by calling 716-839-3939 or completing our online consultation form. If you have been seriously hurt in a boating accident, please schedule your complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation today.