What Is the Cause of Most Boating Accidents?
Though the exact details and contributing factors of individual boating accidents are unique, there are various causes which are common amongst boat accidents, 10 of which are detailed below.
1. Distracted Boat Captain or Operator
Boat operator inattention is a frequent cause of boat accidents. In this case, the boat’s captain takes charge of driving and navigating the watercraft safely, which makes them responsible for keeping track of wind patterns and weather conditions, as well as ensuring all maritime laws are being adhered to while on the water. When the boat’s operator is distracted, they can miss hazards in the water, make sudden and dangerous turns, and/or drive at inappropriate speeds, all of which can lead to fatal boating accidents.
2. Driving the Boat while Under the Influence
As is the case of motor vehicle crashes, alcohol and other substances can play a substantial role in boating accidents. When a boat captain operates their watercraft while intoxicated, their driving abilities are significantly impaired, which can lead to boating accidents resulting in severe injury or death.
3. Equipment Malfunction
Fatal boating accidents often occur as a result of faulty steering mechanisms and defective motors and other boating machinery. When boating equipment is not adequately maintained and inspected before being taken out onto the water, the machinery can malfunction and cause the boat to sink, capsize, or can even lead to an onboard fire. Ensuring all boating machinery and equipment is safe before use, including safety equipment, can prevent serious accidents from occurring.
4. Adverse Weather Conditions
You’ve seen the movies. Just because the sky looks clear at one point in the day, doesn’t mean it won’t quickly take a turn for the worse. High winds and heavy rain can severely impact boating conditions, making adverse weather an unfortunate common cause of serious boat accidents.
5. Boat Operator Inexperience
Inexperienced boat drivers often underestimate the complexity of piloting a boat and do not understand navigation rules, maritime laws, and how to handle boating emergencies, all of which can result in fatal boating accidents.
6. Driving a Boat at Excessive Speeds
The speed at which a boat is moving is a major factor in boat accidents. Collisions which might otherwise be inconsequential are exacerbated when one or more boats involved in a crash are operating at high speeds. Additionally, when boats drive at excessive speeds, their ability to respond to hazards is significantly reduced, and can result in dangerous clashes and roll-overs.
7. Boat is Overloaded
When boats carry too many people or cargo on their vessel, boat overloading can occur. When this happens, capsizing is a significant risk which can lead to serious and sometimes fatal boating accident injuries.
8. Improper Lookout
Sometimes, especially on larger ships, an individual or a team of lookout personnel are employed. These people are responsible for scanning the waters for hazards that might impact the safety of the boat and its passengers. If the people tasked with this important job are not paying attention and miss these dangers, it can lead to catastrophic accidents.
9. Violation of Navigational Rules
Navigational rules are employed to ensure the safety of all boats on the water, especially in areas with heavy boat traffic. Though many boaters may know how to operate their vessels well, many still do not know all the particular rules which reign over the water. When these boat operators violate the navigation laws that govern the water, serious collisions and other dangerous impacts can occur.
10. Reckless Driving by Boat Captain or Operator
When a boat operator decides to disregard the safety of others by carelessly driving the watercraft, whether it be by speeding, attempting “tricks” on the water, or making dangerously sharp turns, reckless driving often leads to serious and fatal injuries.
Were You Injured in a Boating Accident?
Boating Accident Lawsuits
When boating accidents occur, not only can the party responsible be held accountable based on negligence, it’s possible they also violated state, federal, and/or maritime laws. Knowing when these different laws come into play is crucial for boating accident victims as many legal proceedings differ under maritime regulations. It is therefore imperative to retain the expertise of an experienced and skilled boating accident attorney who is well versed in boating laws and maritime legal procedures. If you were injured in a boating accident, you deserve justice and compensation for your suffering.