For thousands of years, humankind has depended on watercraft for travel, work, transportation, commerce, and recreation. Dating all the way back to ancient civilizations, boats have been used for a variety of different purposes, and regulations are just about as old.
However, there aren’t universal laws that protect recreational use of boats specifically. This leaves the door open for confusing statutes and regulations put into place by other governing bodies. In other words, boating accidents and casualties.
The actual boating accidents can vary in damage and injury depending on the situation, and anyone who is a victim needs to understand how different issues can arise when trying to receive compensation.
The following boating accident statistics were compiled by the US Coast Guard and the US Department of Homeland Security.
- In one year, the US Coast Guard reported 4,515 boating accidents in the United States.
- In the same year, there were 651 deaths in those boating accidents as well as 3,000 injuries.
- Over $38 million in property damage was reported in the same year.
- 71 percent of the victims in a fatal boating accident died due to drowning. 85 percent of those victims were not wearing a life vest.
- 7 out of 10 fatalities occurred on boats less than 21 feet in length.
- 17 percent of the deaths occurred when alcohol was related to the accident.
- The most common boats in accidents include motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats.
According to the same report, the types of boating accidents include:
- Collision with another boat
- Flooding or swamping the boat
- Collision with a fixed object (rock, dock, tree, etc)
- Grounding the boat
- Injury to skiers
The injuries from a boating accident can vary drastically. For example, some people walk away with nothing more than a few bruises. However, some people do not walk away at all. The common causes of fatality in boating accidents include: drowning, cardiac arrest, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The reported reasons for boating accidents include:
- Operator Distraction
- Failure of Machinery
- Excessive Speed
- Force of Wake or Waves
- Violation of Navigation Rules
Often, people try to navigate a boat when they do not have the experience to deal with certain situations, like bad weather, choppy waves, or wind. As a result, they lose control of their boat and this can lead to severe accidents and injury. As mentioned, alcohol is often involved. When boat operators are impaired by alcohol, they may not be able to navigate the boat properly, avoid obstacles, or move around other boats. Their reflexes will be impaired as well and this can be just as dangerous as operating an automobile while drinking.
Boating laws and regulations can be very confusing, though, and you will need the help of an experienced attorney if you have been a victim. You could have high medical bills and expenses to repair your boat, but that doesn’t mean you will get compensation automatically. Even if you are entitled to compensation or punitive damages, the only way you will receive those things is if you work with an attorney who knows how to fight for you.
If you or a loved one has been in a boating accident in or near San Diego, then you may be entitled to compensation depending on your case. You need to choose a quality boat accident attorney who will be able to fight for your rights. Don’t take your chances with just any attorney and don’t try to handle your case alone. Instead, call the attorneys at Thompson | Wedeking for a free case evaluation to determine how you should proceed.