Boating safety must be a priority for anyone who visits the waters this upcoming summer season. When people act negligently or recklessly on the waves, boating accidents can and do occur. According to statistics obtained by the United States Coast Guard, over 500 Americans will lose their lives to a boating accident each year and even thousands more will suffer injuries that range from slight to severe.
In an effort to reduce the number of annual boater fatalities and injuries to zero, it is important that everyone first understand the leading causes of boating accidents. Once again, the information the U.S. Coast Guard collects and quantifies places a few causes towards or at the top each year.
The leading causes of boating accidents are, in no particular order:
- Intoxication: Drinking alcohol and then getting into an automobile is dangerous but allowing intoxicated people to board a water vessel is outright reckless. Boat operators who are drunk experience the same mental setbacks as drunk drivers, losing the ability to control the boat and reacting poorly to incoming hazards. Passengers who are not operating the boat but are intoxicated are also much more likely to lose their balance and fall overboard.
- Operator error: Inexperienced operators can be dangerous to themselves, their passengers, and other boats on the water. As with any vehicle, total control must be maintained at all times, and the operator’s attention cannot be taken off the task of steering the vessel safely. If you are not comfortable with how to operate a boat, you should find a person who is qualified.
- Improper lookout: Vessels big and large require a lookout, especially when moving through harsh or populated waters. Lookouts give a second set of eyes to scan for other vessels, buoys, rocks, reefs, and whatever else could collide with the boat. Without a lookout, your odds of collision, capsizing, or sinking increase.
- Speeding: Breaking the speed limit is not a safety violation that only reckless drivers commit. Marinas and harbors will often have posted speed limits that must be obeyed. Out on the open seas, a vessel should never be pushed beyond a safe limit. When speeding does not cause a direct collision with another object, the risk of capsizing is present.
To learn more about boating accidents and what can be done if you are in one, call 361.888.8808 to connect with our Corpus Christi personal injury attorneys at Brunkenhoefer, P.C.