In 2012, the United States Coast Guard reported 4,515 boating accidents. There were 651 deaths and 3,000 injuries as a result of these accidents. Damage caused by boating accidents in 2012 is estimated to be about 38 million dollars. Most boating accidents are highly preventable, if the operator of the craft follows safe practices. Please contact our Orlando boating accident attorneys today if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident.
Occurrence of Boating Accidents Declining
The occurrence of boating accidents and fatalities has been on a steady decline for the past few years. The Personal Watercraft Industry Association attributes the decline with increased efforts to promote safe boating practices and the passing of certain laws. Many laws have changed watercraft operator requirements in the last ten years. Many states now require watercraft operators to be at least sixteen years of age, and to pass a boating course. The states that have adopted these kinds of laws saw a sharper decline in boating accidents than states that do not require as strict requirements for operating watercraft.
Types of Boating Accidents
The most common type of boating accident is a boat colliding with a recreational vehicle, including another boat. Over 1,000 accidents happened as a result of this type of boating accident, resulting in forty-seven deaths and over 700 injuries. These types of accidents happen most commonly in crowded marinas, lakes, and other places where boat, ship, and other types of watercraft traffic are high.
Other types of common Orlando boating accidents include:
- Flooding of craft
- Collision with a stationary object
- Grounding, when a boat hits bottom in a shallow area or side of waterway
- Skier mishaps
Although these are the most common types of boating accidents in recent years, any type of accident while traveling on a watercraft can be considered a boating accident. This includes falling while on a cruise ship, collision with marine life such as whales or manatees, and flipping over while on a Jet Ski. Although some accidents are difficult to avoid, the risk of boating accidents can be mitigated by following safety precautions and following laws.
Contributing Causes of Orlando Boating Accidents
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the main cause of boating accidents in 2012 was operator inattention. The top ten causes of boating accidents are listed in the order of how many accidents were caused by each factor. Of these, the boating accidents that were caused by factors within the vehicle operator’s control were responsible for far greater amounts of injuries and fatalities than those factors that were not within the operator’s control. For example, hazardous waters and adverse weather conditions accounted for less fatalities combined than did alcohol use. Alcohol use was the leading cause of fatal boating accidents in 2012.
Top ten causes of boating accidents:
- Operation inattention
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
- Excessive speed
- Navigation rules violation
- Alcohol use
- Force of wake
- Hazardous waters
Safe Practices to Prevent Boating Accidents
Of the 459 people that drowned due to boating accidents in 2012, eighty-five percent were not wearing life jackets. Wearing a life jacket drastically reduced the risk of fatality from all of the main causes of death from boating accidents. There are many things that both watercraft operators and those who will be traveling on or in the vehicle can do to reduce the risk of boating accidents. The most important thing that a person intending to operate a watercraft can do to keep themselves and other safe is to educate extensively on all scenarios of boating. Being in complete control of a vehicle that has been inspected for damage and wear and being aware of surroundings will reduce the risk of boating accidents greatly.
Safe boating practices include:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Wearing a lifejacket
- Familiarizing all occupants with the vehicle
- Being aware of the wake, and being courteous to other boaters
- Staying at a safe speed
- Being aware of hazards such as rocks and tree stumps
- Being aware of marine life
Orlando Boating Accident Attorneys
Anyone that has been in a boating accident should seek medical attention, as injuries do not always surface right away. Impact with water can damage internal organs and blood vessels, and injuries may not be visible. Victims of a boating accident should also document damage and injuries from the incident, and take pictures. An attorney should be contacted to assess legal rights and assist with investigation and filing procedures for boating accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, please contact our Orlando boating accident attorneys today.
“Studies and Statistics.” Personal Watercraft Injury Association. Personal Watercraft Injury Association, n.d. Web. 14 Sep 2013. <http://www.pwia.org/studiesandstatistics.asp&xgt;.
“U.S. Department of Homeland Security United States Coast Guard.” Boating Safety resource Center. United states Coast Guard, 13 May 2013. Web. 14 Sep 2013.<http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/705.PDF>.
“Your State’s Boating Laws.” CBP.gov Securing America’s Borders. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, 06 Jan 2010. Web. 14 Sep 2013. <http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleasure_boats/boats/pleasure_boat_overview.xml>.