4 Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents

By Mark Hassaki posted 02-03-2014 04:24 AM

The waters, the gorgeous summer weather, some beer, some friends and there, the atmosphere is set for the cruise of your life. . How perfect! And now what if a boat accident happens and spoils this picture completely. A boat accident is a rude shock in this pleasant trip.

What is also relevant here is that boating accidents are fairly common in the waters of America. While there are various reasons for its occurrence, the most common ones make a list below.

During summer days on busy times

Summers are the perfect boating season and the number of boats in the water sees a surge.  What also happens is that, a lot of the boaters traversing the waters in the season are not seasoned drivers. They are mostly out with family and friends and don the driver’s hat occasionally.  Lack of expertise often makes them inexperienced operators. With all the merriment going around sometimes there can be some deficiency of attention and improper lookout and this leads to collisions with other vehicles (the number of vehicles in the water are much higher).

Weather Woes

While summer weather is considered the most affable weather for boating bouts, let’s not forget that weather inherently is unpredictable and when you decide to embark on something like boating which also involves something as beguiling as the waters, you must be careful. So remember to listen to the forecast before heading out and assess calmly and properly if you and your boat will be able to tackle the waters.

However, if you face treacherous waters and high winds suddenly while already on your trip, don’t panic and don’t take any hasty decisions that become a cause of regret later, like speeding in such conditions to reach your destination. Have a good check of your safety equipment and create a plan, the execution of which is not beyond your own or your boat’s abilities. Also remember that preventing an accident and saving lives should be your main agenda while facing bad weather.

For this, undergoing a boat navigation and safety course prior to operating the boat is a good idea. Not only does it make you much more confident and capable of operating your boat, but also  a professional course and certification legally permits you to drive your boat in all states.

The Deadly Combination of Speed and Alcohol

More than half of the fatalities of boating accidents have been attributed to alcohol consumption by the operator of the boat. What we forget is that the operator of the boat in water has to follow the same guidelines regarding alcohol as the driver of a car. You cannot be even slightly intoxicated to drive the boat or have a BAC level exceeding 0.8. However if you flout the laws you are not just putting your rights at risk and tempting arrest and charges, but also endangering the lives of all those on board.  

Speed is another villain when it comes to boating accidents.  Swanky watercraft provide great opportunity for speeding but do remember that speeding also provides great scope for danger. Speeding diminishes our lookout and awareness of things present in the water which includes sandbars, other stationary objects as well as other vehicles. Moreover, boats do not have brakes and the water can play tricks, so it becomes all the more essential to not indulge in speeding while operating a boat. Speeding also cuts down on the scenic value of the locations, and you may hardly be able to enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna in the trip.

Speeding also is usually seen with another hazardous trend. Operators who indulge in speeding often do not yield in or give way to other boats. It probably has got something to do with misplaced egos of operators. However what it results in is, run-ins and collisions of vehicles in the water.

Taking a Boating Education Class often helps in diminishing and regulating such behavior on a boat.

Failure of Equipment in a boat

If you are the owner of a boat, do keep it in great condition.  Taking discounts on time and money as far as maintenance of your boat might actually prove dangerous while in the waters and not to mention costlier in the long run. Checking the engine, rescue capacity, navigation lights (for night travel), communication systems and steering system  as well as other important parts of the vessel on a regular basis helps to keep your boat in a good condition and more well equipped to run in the hazardous waters.

However, if you have taken care of all the mentioned above and still an equipment failure occurs while on the waters, the liability falls on the technician or boat repair facility for not doing the maintenance work properly.

When you are renting a boat, double-check these aspects with the owner of the boat. However , if he has guaranteed you that the functioning and facility of the boat is great and regularly serviced, but there is an equipment failure in the sea, causing an accident, you can file a case. It is because of the negligence and carelessness of the owner that the accident happened and with proper evidence, eye witness reports, etc. your boating accident lawyer can file a case against him and secure your monetary compensation.

Equipment failure is a dangerous aspect of boating causing injuries and death and every owner and regulator should try to prevent this to the best of their capability.


However  if you meet with an accident in the water, due to no fault of your own, filing a boating accident injury case and litigating it becomes a course of action most people take. It could range from inattention and inexperience of the other operator to overloading in the opposite vehicle making it unstable or the operator being too intoxicated, not giving way, showing no safety rules in congested waters, etc. and causing a collision.

In such situations, consult an expert boating accident lawyer; file a case against the negligent party. Legal assistance is necessary in these cases as often the insurance company denies the fault of the negligent party, the negligent party claims to have no insurance or the insurance company takes a very long time to settle the claim.

Boating trips are supposed to be wonderful, pleasant experiences. So take precautions and measures to keep it that way and enjoy boating.