Boating Accident

May 27, 2020 By Andrea Gold Read in about 6 minutes

Boat operator inattention and distraction is the leading cause of boat accidents, according to the United States Coast Guard.

Research shows that over 100 people die in boat accidents every year, and significantly more people suffer injuries. Every state has its own set of boating regulations. Many crashes take place when the rules aren’t known by the boat operator or aren’t followed.

If you or a loved one were injured in a boat accident due to someone else's negligence you should contact a boat accident attorney today to find out about the boating rules and regulations in your state and get the compensation you deserve.   

Boat Accident Causes

Speeding-some people purchase or rent a boat without knowing or following the laws. Waterways have speed limits that vary depending on where you are. Many serious boat accidents, such as collisions and rollovers occur due to high speeds. 

Dangerous water-water can become hazardous in a matter of moments. The current and tidal flow can change quickly and make it difficult to maneuver the boat. The ocean is unpredictable, and it’s essential to know the areas you’re sailing through. Some areas are known for being dangerous, which is why you need this knowledge ahead of time. Many boat accidents happen due to unexpected storms on the ocean.

Alcohol-alcohol is a common factor in boat accidents. There are similar alcohol laws on the water as on the road. The key is to be responsible, and when a boat owner is in charge of steering the boat, he or she shouldn’t be drinking alcohol. 

Boat machinery failure-some boat owners don’t keep up with the maintenance of their boats. The owner is responsible for routine checks to make sure the steering, motor and the hull of the ship are in good condition. When boat machinery isn’t up to date, serious accidents can happen.

Breaking navigational rules-there are rules that govern the waterways to keep people and wildlife safe. When boat owners aren’t aware of the rules, collisions, and injuries can take place. 

Weather-it’s the responsibility of the boat operator to stay on top of the weather. Before any boat trips, the person in charge of the boat should check the weather report for that day and check while on the water as well. A storm on the water can happen quickly and cause operational issues. 

Boat inexperience-knowing how to operate a boat and maneuver around other boats, water skis, and people in the water is essential. If the boat operator doesn’t know the basics of handling the boat during emergencies and navigation rules, a boat accident can be severe. 

Lack of attention-when you’re out on the water with a group of friends and family, it’s easy to get distracted. Many unexpected things can take place in the water, and if the boat operator is not paying attention, it can become dangerous. This is the leading cause of boat accidents. The boat operator should be looking for issues with the weather, other boats, wind, and more. 

Lacking a lookout-it’s always a good idea to have another person on the boat looking for any issues. Having a person designated for issues on the water helps to decrease boat accidents. 

Wakes-as a boat goes through the water, it creates a wake. The force of the wake can be pretty intense and can cause an accident. 

Reckless boat operation-many severe accidents take place due to reckless boating. Boat operators have a duty to operate their boat safely to ensure the safety of passengers and other boaters. 

Types of Boat Accidents

  • Falling overboard-this happens more often than many people realize. If you fall off a boat while moving, you could experience cuts, bruises, lose consciousness, and even drown. 
  • Propeller-the propeller can cause severe injuries, including internal, loss of a limb, cuts, and bruises, and even death. 
  • Run over-people suffer severe injuries from being run over by a boat. Many people get head injuries this way, and if you are hit hard enough, you could drown. 
  • Slip and fall-one common accident on boats is a slip and fall. The wet surface from drinks, ice melting, or water getting on the boat can result in a sprain or broken bone. 

Watercraft Toy Accidents 

Jet skis, WaveRunners, waterslides, and other water toys are involved in accidents occasionally. Usually, they take place when the operator of a boat isn’t watching for water toys and people in the water. 

Many times these accidents take place due to the negligence of the boat operator. If the boat operator is being reckless and not looking out for the people using water toys, accidents can happen. Jet ski accidents like other water toys can result in severe injuries and even lead to death. These accidents tend to be serious because water toys are exposed. 

Occasionally, WaveRunner and jet ski accidents happen because of mechanical issues. The accident can be caused by defective equipment that would most likely be the manufacturer's responsibility. If a lack of maintenance caused the accident, the responsibility would probably be the owner of the water toys or the rental company. 

Common Boat Accidents and Injuries 

  • Drowning-some accidents on a boat result in death. If you fall over the side of the boat going at high speed you could lose your breath and drown. If you fall overboard and don't know how to swim, a drowning can take place also. 
  • Brain injury-this type of injury happens on the water due to falling on the boat and hitting your head or falling off the boat and being under the water too long. It’s also possible to fall into the water, and while you’re underwater, you are exposed to carbon monoxide, which can cause a brain injury. 
  • Cuts and bruises- falling off the boat or inside the boat can result in cuts and bruises. You could fall onto something sharp on the boat or into an object that causes an abrasion. 
  • Spinal injuries-if one boat is hit by another, you could end up with a spinal injury. You could end up with a herniated disc from this type of accident. 
  • Electrocution-poor maintenance of a boat's electrical systems can lead to issues. If the electrical system is handled correctly or if there is standing water, it's possible to get electrocuted. 

If you have injuries from a boat accident and you have expensive medical bills and lost wages it’s essential to hire an attorney you can trust that will help you get the compensation you deserve.