If you plan to take to the water this summer, be sure to take extra care around others. For all your efforts to check the weather, ensure your craft is in good condition and drive it sensibly, it only takes one error by someone else to put you at risk.
U.S. Coastguard’s 2020 statistics show that human error is to blame for most boating incidents:
Operator inattention was the most frequent primary contributing factor
It led to 664 crashes, 55 deaths and 383 injuries. While the water might seem less busy than the average Houston street, there is still a lot going on. It’s great that people take to the water to relax, yet a certain level of alertness remains crucial.
Operator inexperience was the second most frequent
It led to 612 crashes, 56 deaths and 343 injuries. To drive a car, you need to take a theory test and a practical test. To drive a boat, all you need is a theory test. You can literally walk into a store, order a powerful vessel and be out on the water the same day even if you have never been on a boat in your life.
Improper lookout was the third most frequent
It led to 578 crashes, 28 deaths and 409 injuries. Think about any pirate movie you’ve seen – someone always keeps a lookout from the bow or top of the mast. Their job was not just to shout “Land Ahoy” but to watch for hazards, such as other boats or underwater rocks. Small craft may only have one or two people aboard. Hence they need to think carefully about how they can still keep an eye out while performing other tasks.
Getting help to investigate what happened will be crucial to getting the compensation you need if hurt in a collision with another boat.