With the first major heatwave of the summer hitting the Tri-State area and the rest of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, many people are relaxing on boats while trying to beat the heat. Recreational boating has continued to grow in popularity, which can only lead to an increase in boating accidents. Before heading out on the water, it is important to remember that most boating accidents can be prevented simply by paying more attention to safety preparation and procedure.
The Coast Guard reports that in 2015 there were 626 deaths resulting from recreational boating accidents. Overwhelmingly, the highest number of deaths from a boating accident was due to drowning, with alcohol use by the boat’s operator as the number one contributing factor in all deadly accidents. A staggering 85 percent of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. An easy safety precaution such as slipping on a life jacket could save so many lives. Just recently, a man was on a boat on a lake in upstate New York with his son and brother, when their boat hit a rock, throwing the 13-year-old boy overboard. His father jumped in after him, but both were overtaken by the water. The boy was unconscious when he was pulled from the water by another boater. His father’s body was found submerged in the lake. No one on the boat was wearing a life jacket when the accident occurred.
The largest number of deaths from boating accidents happen on open motorboats. With so many variables involved in boating, there are a number of different ways accidents and injuries can occur. The two main types of boating accidents are collisions with either another watercraft or a fixed object in the water. The main contributing factors in boating accidents are operators who are not paying close enough attention to what they are doing, do not have enough experience, and do not provide a proper lookout for what is up ahead. Excessive speed and machinery failure round out the top five.
Accidents due to inexperience are entirely too common, as over 70 percent of deaths in boating accidents had an operator who did not have any instruction on boat safety. This week, another child in upstate New York was seriously injured in a boating accident. The 8-year-old girl and her father were being towed on an inner tube by a boat on a lake outside of Syracuse. When the boat went to make a turn, it wound up knocking into the inner tube, sending the father and daughter into the water and into the path of the boat’s propellers. The young girl lost her arm and leg, and suffered a traumatic head injury. The investigation is ongoing, with initial reports indicating the boat’s operator misjudged where the inner tube was when the turn was made.
Boating safety is not an option. Failing to follow safety measures can lead to a serious accident with severe and life-changing injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident and someone’s recklessness and negligence was to blame, contact the dedicated and experienced lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.