There are a number of boating accidents that occur each year in the U. S. The U. S. Coast Guard's 2008 annual report showed that the most common type of water related boating accidents are collisions between two boats. In 2008, boat collisions accounted for 1237 accidents, 60 deaths and 856 injuries. Sinking, flooding and swamping accounted for 475 accidents, 89 deaths and 179 injuries in 2008; while, falls overboard accounted for 431 accidents, 188 deaths and 257 injuries. This article will discuss common causes of boating accidents and some statistics relating to such causes.
Operator inattention - it is a requirement that boat operators stay vigilant, cautious and that they constantly monitor their boat, the weather and any unsafe conditions or objects nearby or on the water. Generally, conditions on the water may be unpredictable and thus there is a need for the boat operator to pay attention and look for early signs of any hazards. Operator inattention is said to have resulted in 488 accidents, 28 deaths and 329 injuries in 2008.
Improper lookout - on boats there must be a designated lookout or spotter to watch for potential or actual threats and hazards. The lookout or spotter has the same responsibility as the operator, and acts as a second set of eyes in case the operator misses something. Failure to have a proper lookout resulted in 430 accidents, 24 deaths and 331 injuries in 2008.
Excessive speed – as with all drivers, travelling at a prudent rate of speed while on the road is a necessity, this is also a requirement when operating a boat. Safe speeds allow you to react to danger in sufficient time. Further, excessive speeds often result in collisions with other boats or vessels or even running aground.
Operator inexperience - according to the U. S. Coast Guard‘s annual report, operator inexperience is the third most common cause of boating accidents. Therefore, while there is a need for operators to understand the basics of building and the rules of navigation, it is imperative that the operator be prepared for handling emergency situations. The 2008 report showed that operator inexperience was the most common boating accident cause and accounted for 429 accidents, 40 deaths and 315 injuries. All operators must receive training before leaving the shore.
Impaired operation - due to the fact that most boating activities are done for leisure, it is very common for alcohol and drugs to play a large factor in boating accidents. Such accidents result in serious injuries and or death. Alaska law states that a person is considered intoxicated if that person has a blood or breath concentration of alcohol of 0.08% or more. Therefore, boating while under the influence is illegal. Vessel operators are strongly advised not to consume alcohol while boating.
However, at times other factors besides the human factor can result in boating accidents such as:
- Equipment failure
- Dangerous waters
- Weather conditions, etc
If you have been involved in a boating accident and sustained an injury, seek out personal injury lawyers in Anchorage Ak for legal advice and representation.