Boat ownership is a common goal for those who have demanding careers. Getting the boat out on the water should be an opportunity to relax or bond with your friends and family. Whether you want to go fishing or take a loved one out to view the night sky away from the noise of the city, there is something so calming about leaving the land behind.
Interest in boating has been on the rise across the United States in recent years, which unfortunately means that the number of boating accidents has also been on the rise. According to the United States Coast Guard, 2020 saw a roughly 25% increase in boating accidents. That could mean you have a little more risk when you head out for a maritime adventure.
With accident rates on the rise, it’s important that you understand what boating accidents are most common and how you can potentially avoid them.
People often fall out of boats while on the open water
One of the more common and deadly kinds of boating accidents is when someone falls overboard to a sudden turn or choppy water. Often, someone falls overboard without a personal flotation device (PFD), and the result is tragic.
Although most people don’t need their life preserver when they go out, not having one on in an emergency could be a fatal mistake. Insisting that everyone, especially those who are not proficient swimmers, wear PFDs could save a life.
Alcohol-related incidents are also common
People underestimate how alcohol might affect their boating skills or fail to account for how heat and sun exposure may amplify the effects of alcohol on their boating ability. Drunk boaters are a big risk, especially on the weekends and major holidays.
Sometimes, mechanical issues are the cause of boating incidents, and other times, people head out when the weather is bad or caught by surprise on open water in a sudden storm.
You have rights after a boating accident
Individuals hurt in a boating accident could have several options available. Some of them may have grounds for personal injury lawsuits against a negligent boater or someone who improperly maintained a vessel.
Especially if a boating incident occurs on a commercial boat, the company involved may have insurance coverage that protects clients and passengers. With more risk in recent years, recreational boaters should take the time to learn more about their risks and what protects them. Knowing your rights if you get hurt while out boating can protect you from long-term financial losses.