Late summer and early fall are great times to be on a boat, enjoying the outdoors. The benefits of water recreation, however, sometimes come with a cost. Recreational boating accidents can lead to serious injury, drowning, and death more often than people realize. According to the New York State Parks Department, there were 22 boating accident fatalities in 2016 alone. As the waterways get more crowded, it’s more important than ever to practice boat safety.
Causes of Boating Accidents
The most common causes of serious injury or death in a boating accident is a collision between boats. Boat collisions can result from several different factors including:
- Operator inexperience
- Reckless boat driving
- Improper lookout
- Excessive speed
- Rough or rowdy passenger behavior
- Distracted boating
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Boat malfunctions
- Alcohol and drug use/boating while intoxicated
In addition to collisions, negligence on the waterways can also lead to boats capsizing and people being ejected from boats. Flooding, fires, and explosions can also result. Boating accidents can be caused by manufacturing or design defects in the boat. In addition, many boat-related injuries occur because of water sports such as swimming off the boat and water skiing.
While you can’t prevent all boating accidents, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family when you’re on the water.
- Check the weather before you get on the water. Keep an eye out for sudden shifts in the wind and lightning flashes which can signal that a storm is approaching.
- Wear a personal floatation device at all times. If you are involved in a collision, a capsize or are ejected from the boat, a life jacket can save your life.
- Keep an emergency kit on the boat with a flashlight, first aid kit, matches, a map of the waterways, flares, and sunblock.
- Check the engine and fuel supply on the boat before leaving.
- Learn to swim.
- Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs while operating the boat
- Take a boating course to learn about navigation, how to respond in an emergency, and the effects that wind, water, and weather conditions can have on your boat.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a boating accident, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español