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What Factors Can Cause a Boating Accident?

Spending time out on the water can provide much-deserved fun and relaxation, and many people manage to do just that without incident. Unfortunately, however, whether you are boating on lakes or other waterways, there is always the chance of being involved in some type of boating accident.

Numerous accidents occur each year according to reports put out by the US Coast Guard, which identify the factors involved and also the type of casualties that occur as a result.

While these accidents may not be your fault, several factors can lead to their occurrence and cause serious injury to you or those you love. These factors include the following.

Operator Inattention

When anyone gets behind the controls of a boat, it is no different than getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, especially when it comes to responsibility. Even though a boat operator is surrounded by distractions, he or she needs to stay diligent and alert, constantly scanning the environment. Yet, operator inattention is one of the leading factors in accidents involving boats.

Nature has a way of sneaking up on you if you’re not paying attention, and out on a boat, the weather can be unpredictable. Waves can kick up. Rain can come on suddenly. Not paying attention to weather conditions or hazardous waters can be fatal. Failure to scan the skies and waterway constantly for danger is a negligent behavior which can lead to potential personal injury for everyone on board, or those occupying a boat nearby.

Other distractions may include various watercraft and the actions of passengers. The boat operator is responsible for being aware of it all. If not, and you’re injured, you may want to consult a boat accident lawyer for legal advice.

Careless/Reckless Operation

Careless or reckless behavior in operating a boat can play a tremendous factor in boating accidents. The use of alcohol by either a boat operator or passengers often leads to horrible accidents that could be avoided. Other reckless actions, such as crossing wakes of other boats, can also lead to injury.

Just as dangerous is a lack of life jackets onboard. You should always have one for each passenger as a safety precaution. Violating the navigational rules is another reckless act and can lead to accidents or running aground. All of which can cause injury.

Operator Inexperience

Another common cause of boating accidents is operator inexperience. Without knowledge of boating basics, navigational rules, and how to handle any emergencies, this is just an accident waiting to happen.

Operating at an Unsafe Speed

Operating at an unsafe speed often plays a role in boating accidents. Operators can too easily lose control and put passengers, and other watercraft, in danger. Such excessive speed prevents anyone from having time to see and react to any of the dangers that may lie ahead. Collisions and rollovers can happen in an instant. Boat operators must match their speed to the conditions of their surroundings, especially at nighttime.

Failure to Have a Proper Lookout

While the boat operator is primarily responsible for what happens onboard, a best practice is to designate another as a proper lookout. This person will watch for threats and potential dangers that the operator may not see. Just as bad as not having a lookout is having an improper lookout who fails to take the role seriously enough.

Equipment Failure

boating accident

Boat maintenance and care are crucial for safe boating. Equipment failure out on the water, such as the steering mechanism going out, can lead to serious consequences. Care needs to be taken, and regular checks need to be conducted of all boating equipment, from the motor to the hull. This is fully the responsibility of the boat owner, and if not done regularly, it could be considered a form of negligence.

Final Thoughts

Many factors may contribute to a boating accident. Our personal injury attorneys here at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are fully versed in these factors and are here to help.

If you, your loved ones, or a friend have been injured in a boating accident and believe one of these factors may have been involved, contact our personal injury law firm today at (866) 868-3779. Our free consultation can help determine what your legal options may be going forward.

Emily is a writer and legal professional with experience as a law firm paralegal and non-profit legal administrator. Prior to her legal career, Emily earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs and worked with a government consulting group out of Washington, D.C. Today she splits her time between the Florida coast and the North Carolina mountains.

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