According to annual statistics collected by the United States Coast Guard, more than 500 Americans will be in a fatal boating accident each year and thousands more will suffer injuries ranging from slight to severe.
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Boating accidents result in significant injuries, deaths, and property damage every year
Boating crashes are less common than car crashes but result in a significant number of injuries and deaths each year. For example, in 2013 the Coast Guard counted 4,062 accidents that involved 560 deaths, 2,620 injuries, and approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
The Coast Guard reports that boating accidents cause more fatalities each year than in airplane crashes, in train wrecks, or in bus accidents.
The common types of boats involved in accidents are open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats.
Data regarding boating fatalities illustrates the nature of recreational boating accidents:
- 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned; of those, 84% were not wearing personal floatation devices (PFDs).
- 8 of 10 boaters who drowned were in boats less than 21 feet in length.
- Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
- Common causes of fatal boating accidents are operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and machinery failure.
What should you do to help when someone is injured or killed in a boating accident?
After a serious boating accident, it is crucial to get legal help for survivors or the families left behind when an accident is fatal. To ensure that victims get the financial compensation they need to move forward in life, an experienced personal injury attorney must be found to take over the claim process. A boating crash lawyer helps secure the financial future of boat accident victims who can then concentrate on recovery.
Life jackets on a boat are a must for safety, but unlike riding a bike, no boater would think to don a helmet on the water. So often all that separates our brains from serious injury with a hard object is our skull. If you've been hit in the head and are experiencing symptoms of TBI, seek a doctor's help immediately. To recognize the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury, click here.
It's up to boaters to prepare themselves for worst-case scenarios, and that begins with property boating safety. If you've never taken a boating safety course, every state and national boating agency will encourage you to do so - even if your state doesn't require it. If you're just taking a course to get your license, you're taking it for the wrong reason. Safety is much more important than a card in your wallet. Click here for classes and resources on how to avoid boating accidents.
Boaters can't control a lot of things - the weather and other boaters being two of the more potentially unpredictable factors. But there is one thing boaters should try to perfect - safety. Click here for a valuable list of resources and tips on how to be a safer boater.