Warm weather typically means breaking out the boats and having some fun in the sun, but this doesn’t mean that everyone is lucky enough to walk away scot-free from an afternoon of boating with loved ones. That’s right, the rising popularity of such a pastime has led to several accidents over the past years. Whether it be a canoe, ship, or any other water-bound vessel, it can get involved in an accident that may lead to transportation litigation. For example, in Illinois, small watercrafts only make up roughly 4% of the watercraft in Illinois water. However, they make up at least 44% of all the accidents in the state.
Common Boating Accidents
What qualifies as a boating accident? Boating accidents include vessel loss, property damage, injuries, missing individuals, and even death.
As for common boating accidents, these can include:
- A casualty while swimming to an undocked vessel
- A casualty/injury occurring from colliding with a vessel or its components
- An explosion or fire while docked or operating
- Two vessels colliding
- A mishap while towing (whether it be a wakeboard, waterski, etc.)
- A passenger falling off a vessel
- The vessel flooding or capsizing
- An individual drowning
Yes, accidents do happen, but many of them can be avoided by simple safety procedures and thinking ahead. For example, one of the leading boat-related casualties happens to be drowning. If simple PFD protocols were followed and passengers were wearing life vests, these casualties could’ve been easily avoided. In addition to this, the law states that all vessels must have at least a single life vest (USCG approved) for every individual on board. In the event of a boating accident, the chances of survival are significantly higher when passengers have (and utilize) life vests while on board.
By simply operating a vessel responsibly, one can avoid so many scenarios that could lead to a boating tragedy. For example, there are many instances where an individual goes overboard due to drug/alcohol abuse, driving a boat irresponsibly, or another passenger being irresponsible. If the vessel’s driver understands how to operate the vessel responsibly, is knowledgeable of vessel law, and understands how to keep themselves and their passengers safe, most trauma and tragedy can be avoided.
Common causes of most boating accidents include:
- A distracted boat driver
- A driver that’s under the influence
- Equipment malfunctions
- Poor weather conditions
- Inexperienced boat drivers
- Driving at excessive speeds
- Overloaded boats
- Improper lookouts for hazards
- Violations of navigational rules
- Reckless driving
So to avoid accidents and minimize chances for a boating tragedy, it’s important take precautions seriously and be well aware of what you plan on doing. Regardless if you’re a seasoned boater or a novice boater, understanding safety regulations and boating law can be life-saving. Many states offer valuable resources and information to boaters so that accidents can be avoided. Small details such as speed limits in no-wake zones, checking weather reports before boating, sharing safety tips with passengers, and making sure your vessel is suited to go out on the water are all helpful when it comes to being out on the water and help prevent you from having to call for help.
When a boating accident occurs, the party responsible can typically be held accountable for their negligence. A lawyer will know what laws were violated and what compensation can be acquired to cover your injuries. They can guide you through the complex legal proceedings and give you peace of mind knowing that you’re in good hands. If you (or someone you know) have been a victim on what should’ve been a fun day on the water in a boating accident, there’s still hope. Our team of attorneys is on hand to help you with any legal issues that require their professional assistance. Get a free case evaluation right away!