Boating accidents are surprisingly common — both among industry professionals who work on the water for a living and recreational boaters alike.
Many of those accidents are also preventable. In fact, most boating accidents come down to a few common problems. The more you know about the dangers you face, the better precautions you can take.
Boating accidents are largely attributable to human error
While big waves and unexpected storms are always a hazard out on the water, the vast majority of offshore accidents are caused by mundane human errors, like:
- Running aground. A captain who is inexperienced in the area’s waters (or who is intoxicated) can easily run a vessel up on a sand bar or other surface.
- Running out of fuel. An error in calculations can leave a vessel stranded on the water — and subject to whatever hazards may come until its rescued.
- Fires. Fuel spills, leaks and broken machinery can lead to tragedy aboard a vessel if flames erupt. The situation can get worse, however, if there are no fire extinguishers on board.
- Mechanical failure. Bad lights, a broken engine and electrical trouble are all things that could cause a boat to suddenly go dead in the water — and that can lead to life-threatening accidents if repairs are attempted under dangerous conditions.
- Speeding. Speeding is illegal, whether you’re on the road or on the water — but that doesn’t always stop boaters from disobeying the limits. Speeding accidents are particularly common at night, but they can happen at any time.
- Overboard falls. Everybody on a boat needs the proper safety equipment. If there aren’t enough life jackets for everybody, don’t head out on the water.
- Leaks. Cracks in the fiberglass joints, small holes in the hull and other problems can allow a boat to take on water — and the problems for everybody on board will immediately escalate. Routine maintenance can prevent this problem.
If you’re injured in a boating accident, you will probably have a lot to handle during your recovery. Working with an attorney can help you recover your losses and get the compensation you need to move forward.