If you’re in Louisiana or East Texas this time of year and you’re outside, you want to be close to water. Boating is a natural favorite pastime, whether you fish, water ski or just like to float around.
Recently the U.S. Coast Guard released the 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, revealing that the number of boating accident fatalities skyrocketed a staggering 25.1 percent over the previous year. During the pandemic people took to the water to social distance and blow off stress. Some were first-time boat owners. People also drank more alcohol. Stress, inexperience and alcohol all contribute to a bigger safety risk.
Boating Accident Statistics
The Coast Guard report found there were 767 fatalities, with alcohol being the leading contributing factor. There were 3,191 non-fatal injured victims, and property damage totaling around $62.5 million.
When fatalities occurred, 75 percent of the time, victims drowned. Of those, 86 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
Accidents happened in all types of boats, but the vessel types with the highest percentage of fatalities were open motorboats, kayaks and pontoons.
Top 6 Boating Accident Causes
Most of the time when an accident happens on a boat, it could have been avoided. These are some of the top reasons a lake or ocean outing ends up in tragedy.
- Operator inexperience – In the above report, where information was available, 77 percent of deaths happened on boats where the driver hadn’t taken a boating safety course.
- Alcohol use – Most states have the same alcohol limits for boat drivers as for motor vehicle operators, but sometimes boat drivers don’t take the risk seriously.
- Operator inattention – Drivers assume they’re safe traveling on water and fail to maintain control of their watercraft, then something unexpected happens.
- Weather – The weather can change suddenly, putting everyone in danger.
- Speeding – In a boat, you can’t just slam on the brakes, and maneuvering takes more space at high speeds. It’s also harder to avoid obstructions.
- Mechanical failure – Boats that aren’t properly maintained can cause big problems.
When one or more of the above occurs, boats capsize, passengers fall overboard, vessels catch fire, boats run into other boats or structures and more. A boating accident can be terrifying, and afterward you can feel like you’re still in uncharted waters, because it’s up to you to protect yourself both medically and legally.
Texas Boating Accident Attorney or Longview Boating Accident Attorney
After a boating accident, the first step is to make sure everyone in both vessels is safe and accounted for. Then seek medical assistance, even if you feel like your wounds are minor. If your boat was involved, notify your insurer, even if it was the other operator’s fault.
If the other boat operator was negligent or careless, and their actions caused your injury, you need legal representation to pursue compensation. Set up a free consultation with our boating accident attorneys so we can answer your questions and talk about what you can do to support your claim.