Boating accidents frequently occur as a result of negligence, and they can inflict serious, sometimes fatal injuries. They can take place on small boats, large cruise ships, naval ships, or maritime vessels.
A boating accident is frightening no matter the circumstances, particularly given the threat of drowning. When a boating accident occurs, it is important to have an experienced legal team to investigate it. At GWC Injury Lawyers, our attorneys are well versed in maritime law, admiralty law, and the Jones Act.
Common Causes of Boating Accidents
The most common cause of serious injury and death in boating accidents are collisions, followed by slip and falls, drunk driving, reckless driving, inexperienced boat operators, and equipment malfunction.
While other watersports are popular, such as swimming, water skiing, fishing, jet-skiing, these activities can be dangerous, particularly when the participant is intoxicated or inexperienced.
With more than one million personal boats in use, there are approximately 5,000 boating accidents each year, with many of them resulting in injuries and deaths.
Recommended Safety Advice
Always check the weather forecast before going boating. If you are already out on a boat, and you notice a sudden shift in the wind, lightning flashes, or choppy water, head for shore immediately since that can mean that a storm may be brewing.
Always notify someone where you are going, who is boating with you, and how long you are expected to be away.
Check your boat before you depart, including the engine and the fuel supply.
Learn to swim, as it is the best way to stay safe in and around the water.
Always pack essential items when boating, such as a flashlight, extra batteries, a map, matches, flares, a first aid kit, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Alcohol use is the cause of approximately 50 percent of all deaths on the water, so avoid consuming it when you are on a boat.
Always wear Coast Guard-approved lifejackets when boating.
Find a boating course where you can learn about navigation, emergency procedures, and the effects of water conditions, weather, and wind.
The Jones Act
If you work on a boat as a commercial fisherman, a seaman, or a crew member, you are protected by the Jones Act. This federal maritime law covers workers on a boat who are injured or killed because of employer negligence.
Jet Ski Accidents
While jet skis are enjoyable, they can be extremely dangerous when operated by an inexperienced and/or intoxicated driver. One has a greater chance of getting hurt on a jet ski than any other kind of watercraft, and these injuries can be severe, such as drowning, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, amputations, hypothermia, head trauma, disfigurement, soft tissue damage, broken bones, and death.
The Department of Homeland Security has compiled nationwide boating accident statistics for 2019.
Top Five Boating Accident Types
- Collision With a Recreational Vehicle
- Collision With a Fixed Object
- Falling Overboard
Top Five Boating Accident Contributing Factors
- Operator Inattention
- Improper Lookout
- Excessive Speed
- Alcohol Use
- Machinery Failure
Top Five Causes of Boating Accident Death
- Alcohol Use
- Hazardous Waters
- Operator Inexperience
- Operator Inattention
- Improper Loading
Contact GWC’s Boating Accident Lawyers Today
If you have sustained injuries because of a boating accident, contact the boating accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers today.
With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. We have the experience, the determination, and the reputation of success necessary to get you the justice you deserve.