Boating accidents are extremely common, with over 4,000 incidents per year, according to the Coast Guard. Out on the open water is not the only time boat accidents occur. Boating accidents can occur in drydock, in the harbor, or while towing the boat. But one particularly dangerous time is when the boat is being lowered into the water.
The act of launching a boat begins with backing the trailer down the ramp until the boat is in the lake, river, or ocean. The rules for how to launch are different, depending upon the current of the water. This part should never be rushed, no matter how much of a hurry you in to get things started, as damage can be done to the boat, trailer, ramp, or to the “spotter,” the person in charge of directing the person driving the vehicle towing the trailer.
The spotter is in the most danger, as he or she can be struck by the vehicle, trailer, or even the boat if the driver isn’t careful, or if the driver loses control of the situation. If the spotter is in the wrong place when the boat begins to slide off the trailer, it is easy for them to get hit. The spotter and the driver must be in constant communication.
On rare occasions, a person may accidentally back the vehicle too far down the ramp, resulting in it becoming submerged. This poses a major drowning risk, and everybody present should be aware of this danger. Over 700 people per year are killed in boating-related incidents, and the risk is there from the moment you hook up the trailer until the moment you arrive back home.
Boats are dangerous whether they are in or out of the water. It is important to have a healthy respect for the damage they can do. If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident, determining whether proper safety protocol was followed is of primary importance. Please, retain an experienced attorney who can aid in your investigation.