10 Common Causes of Boating Accidents | Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm

10 Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Attorney Jody L. Broaddus

Summer season is at its peak and it is the perfect time to go boating with your friends or family. Boating is a popular recreational activity in many shoreline areas in the U.S; however, negligence can cause fatal accidents, similar to that on the road. Just like the road, the waters for boating also require us to follow a set of rules and regulations. Over 4,000 boating accidents occur in the U.S every year; thousands of people incur injuries and hundreds lost their lives.

Here are ten common causes of boating accidents all over the country:

1. Distracted Operator
Seawaters are unpredictable, so it is mandatory that the boat operator is attentive at all times. He/she must be aware of the boat’s navigation, weather conditions, and nearby objects. Distraction can cause the operator to overlook potential hazards and neglect warning signs.

2. Poor Lookout
The operator alone may not be able to keep an eye on dangers heading from all sides. One or more designated lookouts can help dodge a disastrous situation.

3. Amateur Operator
Just like driving a car or riding a motorcycle, operating a boat requires skill and practice. Many people think that boating is child’s play and they can do it after reading an instructions manual. Lack of experience is a frequent cause of marine accidents.

4. Running out of Fuel
You must have a clear idea of the distance you are going to travel at sea, and how much gas shall be required to pursue that journey. Running out of fuel in the middle of the sea can be highly inconvenient. One may lose direction at sea, which adds to the expected miles. Therefore, always keep an extra reserve of gas.

5. Equipment Failure
Apart from fueling up, it is important to monitor the overall conditions of your boat. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure that all spare parts are functional. You must also keep all the necessary safety equipment on board to help you during an emergency.

6. Ignoring the Weather Forecast
Do not forget to check upon the aerial conditions before leaving port. Bad weather can put you in a difficult situation while sailing among the waves. Postpone your trip if the local weather channel or your phone app suggests the possibility of an unfavorable scenario.

7. Speeding
Speeding is never a good idea, whether you are on land or at sea. The risks are higher at night when you cannot solely rely on your senses to perceive the path ahead.

8. Lack of Navigation
Lack of navigation can cause you to run aground or collide with other marine vehicles nearby. Warnings and signs exist for a reason, and the stakes are higher offshore.

9. Intoxication
DUI/DWI crimes occur both onshore and offshore. Alcohol and other intoxicating drugs are prohibited if you are designated to operate any kind of vehicle. When a person is drunk or drugged, his/her senses are incapacitated to make sound decisions.

10. Dangerous Waters/Forceful Waves
It is best to stay out of waters that are known to inhabit dangerous marine life, such as killer whales and sharks. In addition, the occurrence of forceful waves may not be anticipated at times, so you should do your research before taking on the voyage.

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