The Facts About Boating Accidents | Scott Goodwin Law

The Facts About Boating Accidents

by / Friday, 10 April 2015 / Published in Personal Injury
Yacht boat anchored on by a beach on a sunny day

What Causes Boating Accidents?
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are ten common causes of boating accidents in the United States. The most common cause is simple operator inattention. In 2013, operator inattention resulted in 567 boating accidents, caused 57 deaths, and left 371 others injured. When you’re out on the water with your friends and/or family, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of everything that’s going on around you, but it’s essential to keep a close eye on everything that is going on around the boat, not just what your friends are up to.

Boating and alcohol is, indeed, a deadly combination. Although alcohol use is the top factor involved in fatal boating accidents, when non-fatal accidents are considered, alcohol use comes in at number 6 on the U.S. Coast Guard’s list of major boating accident causes; topped by improper lookouts, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure.

Different Types of Boating Accidents
Not all boating accidents are exactly the same, there are different types of boating accidents. In 2013, 947 boating accidents were collisions with other recreational boats. 430 accidents involved boats that became flooded or swamped and 427 were accidents with stationary objects. 332 boating accidents were accidents involving water skiers.

What Types of Boats are Likely to Be Involved in Accidents?
Certain types of boats are more likely to be involved in fatal boating accidents than others. Open motorboats had the highest rate of boating accident fatalities by far in 2013 with 1,652 deaths, followed by personal watercrafts with 637 casualties.

Do I Need to File a Report if I’m in a Boating Accident?
Under federal regulations, operators of boats involved in accidents are required to make a formal written accident report to the state if a person died in the accident, a person is injured and needs medical attention beyond simple first aid, the vessel is a complete loss, damage to the vessel or other property is worth at least $2,000, or a person disappears from the boat in a way that suggests they either died or were injured. How long you have to make a report depends on the type of accident. If there is only damage to the boat or other property, operators have 10 days to make their report. But reports must be filed within 48 hours if a person disappears, dies within 24 hours of an accident, or if a person needed medical attention beyond first aid.

When Do Boating Accidents Happen?
Although boating accidents can happen at any time, both fatal and non-fatal accidents are most likely to happen between 2:31 PM and 4:30 PM. The timeframes immediately surrounding it, 12:31 PM-2:30 PM and 4:31 PM-6:30 PM, are the times with the second and third highest rates of boating accidents. These are the times of day when more people are likely to be out on the water, therefore increasing the likelihood for accidents to occur. This is also why boating accidents are much more likely to happen on Saturdays or Sundays than on other days of the week.

The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Goodwin & Scieszka handle other vehicle-related accidents like motorcycle accident cases. Contact us to see how we can help you be fairly compensated.