Common Causes of Boating Accidents That Lead to Injuries

Boating is a fun summertime outing even during the pandemic, since it allows friends and families to enjoy the outdoors while remaining a safe distance from other people. In fact, data gathered by the US Coast Guard shows that boating activity rose significantly during the pandemic. However, it can be easy to let your guard down while enjoying yourself on the water. The use of watercraft is fraught with danger and accidents can result when participants don’t practice safety measures or use good judgment.

In 2020, the US Coast Guard recorded 3,191 injuries and 767 deaths resulting from recreational boating accidents. Perhaps the most troubling statistics are that 75 percent of all fatal boating accident victims died from drowning and that 86 percent of the drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.

Being aware of the most common types of boating accidents and their causes can help you apply a greater degree of caution. In 2020, these five boating accidents occurred most frequently:

  • Collisions with other vessels- — The most common boating accidents were collisions of recreational vessels. Such crashes can happen if pilots fail to follow water traffic rules, become distracted or are intoxicated or drug-impaired.
  • Collisions with fixed objects — Although structures in plain sight, such as a pier or a docked vessel, are usually easy to avoid, collisions with underwater rocks and shoals and other objects hidden from view can cause damage to the vessel as well as injuries to passengers, who may be thrown from the craft upon impact.
  • Passengers falling overboard — Impacts of any kind can cause passengers to be ejected from a vessel. In addition, falls overboard can occur when a wave, sharp turn or sudden acceleration causes a passenger to lose balance.
  • Swamping or flooding — A vessel may take on water and begin to sink due to a crash, a leak or an operator’s carelessness or error. Swamping can also occur if the boat is carrying too much weight or if the weight is unevenly distributed. The ever-present danger of sinking is why wearing a life vest on board is critical.
  • Grounded vessels — Operators sometimes fall to stay alert for buoys and signs that warn about shallow waters. When a vessel runs aground, the force of the impact can cause passengers to fall and can do damage to the craft itself.

Overall, vessel operators’ failure to pay attention was the primary contributing factor for all recorded boating accidents in 2020.

If you or a family member has sustained a boating injury of any kind, you may have a valid claim for damages. However, you should not engage in settlement discussions with an insurance company representative until you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

At Cooke Law Firm, we represent boating accident victims throughout Indiana, including Lafayette, White County and Benton County. Find out how our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you. For a free initial consultation, call us today at 765-423-5628, or contact us online.