One of the things that many people enjoy doing for fun and recreation is to get out in a boat on one of the many rivers and lakes across the United States, as well as getting out on the ocean. While this can bring great enjoyment, boating accidents do happen.
The United States Coast Guard defines a boating accident like this: (1) a boat passenger dies or becomes seriously injured; (2) a boat passenger disappears and death or injury is suspected; or (3) a vessel causes or sustains damage. As you can see, a boating accident is not just limited to a collision, but may take place whenever a person is killed, injured or disappears while boating.
You may think that boating accidents are not a common occurrence. However, according to the United States Coast Guard, in 2009, there were 4,730 boating accidents that involved 3,358 injuries, around $36 million of damage to property and 736 deaths. 75% of all fatal boating accidents in 2009 came as a result of drowning. 84% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets, and 7 out of ten who drowned were in open motorboats less than 21 feet long.
Leading cause of boating accidents
The leading cause of boating accidents is a boat driver who is under the influence of alcohol. In fact, more than one-third of all boating accidents involve a driver who is boating under the influence (BUI). All of the states in the United States have made it a crime to be boating under the influence. Anyone who is convicted of BUI faces heavy fines or incarceration.
Another cause of boating accidents is when inexperienced boaters encounter unfamiliar or dangerous conditions.
Severe weather like heavy rains or strong winds is another cause of boating accidents. Severe weather may cause boaters to have problems in avoiding collisions or navigating properly. Severe weather may cause difficulty in maintaining a boat afloat and upright. Lightning strikes can electrocute someone on the boat or damage the boat or on-board electrical equipment. Too much exposure to sunlight can cause people on the boat to suffer heat exhaustion or other heat-related maladies.
Carbon monoxide - The engines of a boat make carbon monoxide. Serious injury or death can occur with too much exposure to this deadly gas.
Another cause of boating accidents is reckless or careless operation of the boat. A driver does not have to be under the influence of alcohol to operate a boat carelessly or recklessly. A driver can disregard the safety of other boats in the area by weaving or speeding.
Boating accidents are also caused by capsizing of the boat. The number one cause of fatalities in boating accidents is capsizing that usually results from overloading or improper loading.
Follow the guidelines - It is well to remember that boating accidents are a type of accident that can be reduced. This can be done by following the guidelines that are set forth by the United States Coast Guard.
Are you an innocent victim of a boating accident?
If you were the innocent victim of a boating accident that was due to the recklessness or carelessness of someone else, you should consult a personal injury attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit may enable you to receive thecompensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages.