Now’s the time to go boating. You can get away from work, enjoy the freedom of being out on the water, and spend time with friends and family. When you’re enjoying yourself around something as hazardous as water, the speed that comes with powerful motors, and alcohol that can fog your judgment and impair your reactions, you may be an accident waiting to happen.
Boating Safety and Lack Thereof, By the Numbers
The US Coast Guard states that for 2021 4,439 known recreational boating accidents caused:
- 658 deaths
- 2,641 injuries
- Approximately $67.5 million of property damage
Where the causes of boat-accident deaths were known:
- 81% of victims drowned
- 83% of them were not wearing a life jacket
Alcohol use is the top known contributing factor in deadly boating accidents. When the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed 16% of the time. The next four primary contributing factors were:
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
- Machinery failure
- Excessive speed
Ignorance is also deadly. Where the level of instruction was known, 75% of fatalities happened on boats whose operators hadn’t received boating safety instruction. Spinning propellers can kill and injure too. There were 188 known accidents where at least one person was struck by a propeller, causing 24 deaths and 191 injuries.
Cases Where Boating Mistakes Were Deadly
Some of the more recent boating accidents show how fun on the water can turn into a day you’ll always regret:
- A 17-year-old girl was killed in Louisiana after being thrown into the water from the front of a pontoon boat, according to the Lexington Herald. Madison Bradley, 17, of Slidell, and another passenger were riding on the front of the boat beyond a protective railing. The two of them were thrown into the water after the boat hit a wake from another boat. The other passenger surfaced, but Bradley did not. She was struck and killed by the outboard motor’s propellers or seriously injured and drowned. The boat’s operator was arrested on multiple charges, including vehicular homicide and driving a vessel while impaired
- Two people were killed and ten injured in June about a mile off Key Biscayne, FL, after two boats, 18 and 30 feet long, collided late in the evening on a Friday night, reports the Miami Herald. The larger boat sank in 11 feet of water. Two people on the smaller craft were killed and three injured. Seven on the other boat suffered injuries. Two of those hurt were critically injured, and everyone on both boats was thrown into the water
The boat’s captain is responsible for it and all those on board. They shouldn’t drink and boat. If passengers aren’t being safe, the behavior must stop, or the boat should stop until they’re no longer posing a threat to themselves or others. The fact someone’s thrown overboard isn’t a joke, especially given the dangers of outboard motors.
Speed kills on the water as much as it does on the road. At least one of the Florida boats must have been going at high speed. Both boats’ occupants were thrown into the water after the crash. The force of the collision was enough to kill two people and sink a 30-foot boat. One or both captains may not have seen the other before it was too late.
Have You Been Injured in a Boating Accident in Kentucky and Want to Talk to an Attorney?
Are you severely injured because of the negligent operation of a boat? Call The Fleck Firm to schedule a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We’ll talk about the accident, your injuries, Kentucky law, and your best options to obtain compensation. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.