LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Timothy E Burch | Oct 3, 2011

Boating Accident Statistics and Facts

Similar to car accidents, the majority of boating accidents are preventable. Every year thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in a boating accident; many of which were caused by negligence.

In 2010, the Coast Guard reported 4,604 boating accidents involving 672 fatalities and 3,153 injuries. These accidents were responsible for approximately $35.5 million dollars of property damage as a result of recreational boating accidents.

The fatality rate for boating accidents was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels in the same year. This figure represents a slight decrease from the previous year’s rate of 5.8 deaths per 100,000 registered vessels.

Boating accidents are extremely dangerous considering the fact that a large body of water is involved. In nearly three-fourths of all fatal boating accidents the victim drowned. Of those victims, 88% were not wearing a life jacket.

Boater inexperience and lack of instruction plays a heavy role in boating fatalities. In fact, only nine percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction. Furthermore, the size of the boat was a factor in the reported deaths. Eight out of every ten boaters who drown were using a vessel that was less than twenty one feet in length.

Unfortunately, boating accidents are very similar to car accidents due to the fact that operator carelessness or recklessness is usually the cause of most accidents and fatalities. The top five contributing factors to boating accidents include operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and alcohol.

Similar to the way that a drunk driver can get a DUI on the open roads, a boat operator can be guilty of drinking and driving a boat while under the influence. Unfortunately drinking is a significant problem in the boating community. Many people think it’s acceptable to drink alcohol while operating a large vessel—and when this happens a simple mistake can lead to serious injuries or death for anyone who gets in the way. It is not uncommon for passengers to fall off their own boats because the operator is speeding or driving in a reckless manner. Not to mention the occupants of other boats, paddle boats, jet skis and canoes.

Tragically, twenty-one children under the age of thirteen were killed in a boating accident in 2010. Of that figure, 42% of them drowned while they were wearing a life jacket. This sadly illustrates the fact that a young child can still die in a boating accident regardless if they were wearing a life jacket or not.

Of all boating-related deaths, alcohol use was determined to be the number one contributing factor. In effect, the majority of injuries and fatalities were the direct result of alcohol consumption. If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury attorney will be able to help you file a claim against the legally liable party. Boating accidents are not as commonplace as car accidents; therefore, they require the assistance of an experienced lawyer who takes on boating accident cases. So do not waste another moment – contact a personal injury lawyer without delay!

Additional resources provided by the author

The Burch Law Office is a personal injury law firm located in Greenville, North Carolina. Their firm handles all types of personal injury cases including but not limited to boating accidents, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites and many more. Over the years, their Greenville personal injury attorneys have gained a reputation for providing their clients with outstanding service while fighting aggressively for the compensation they deserve. Don’t make the mistake of accepting a low-ball insurance offer – hire someone who knows the system, and who won’t let you be taken advantage of. To learn more, contact a Greenville personal injury lawyer from their firm or call toll free at (866) 291-1822.

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