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How To Avoid Preventable Boating Accidents

This past summer, an extravagant Fourth of July fireworks display on Long Island Sound turned deadly when a yacht carrying 27 passengers sunk, leaving a 12-year-old boy, his 11-year-old cousin and an 8-year-old girl dead.  Bad weather and an overcrowded boat were deemed factors in the tragedy.

Boating accidents happen on all kinds of watercraft – from Jet Skis to cruise ships and everything in between.  The Coast Guard reports that in 2010 there were 4,604 recreational boating accidents, resulting in 672 deaths, 3,153 injuries, and approximately $35.5 million dollars in property damage.  Most accidents were those involving open motorboats (46%), personal watercraft (20%), and cabin motorboats (14%).

Although the boating accident and death rate has decreased over the years, most boating accidents are entirely preventable.  If you own a watercraft, be sure to take the following precautions:

  • Familiarize yourself with the Federal Laws that apply to boating and Indiana’s boating laws, and make sure that you are in compliance
  • Keep in mind that inattention, inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed and alcohol consumption are the five major contributing factors in boating accidents. In fact, 19% of all fatal boating accidents in 2010 were caused by alcohol use onboard
  • Be safe.  Don’t operate in unsafe waters or in otherwise unsafe conditions. Keep in mind that nearly three-fourths of all boating accidents in 2010 involved drowning and 88% of the victims were not wearing life jackets

If you are uncertain about proper boat operation and safety, take a course.  The 2010 Recreation Boating Statistics show that only 9% of boating deaths occurred where the operator had received boating safety instruction and only 6% where the instruction was from a NASBLA-approved course provider.

When an accident occurs, it is crucial that you preserve whatever evidence you can and call a lawyer right away. Investigators and accident reconstruction experts must be hired immediately to determine the cause of the accident. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a boating accident, our firm has the experience and resources to help you.

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