For many people, there’s nothing more thrilling than jumping on a boat and hitting the water. However, even if you have many years of experience, you could still suffer a serious injury in an accident.
According to the U.S Department of Homeland Security U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, in 2018 alone the Coast Guard counted more than 4,100 accidents that resulted in approximately 2,500 injuries and 630 deaths.
Understanding the most common causes of boating accidents can help you make more informed decisions while on the water. Here’s are five details to keep in mind:
- Inattention: If you’re operating a boat, you must pay close attention to everything happening around you. This is the same approach as you take when driving a motor vehicle. For example, monitor the health of your boat, unsafe conditions and other vessels.
- Inexperience: Don’t bite off more than you can chew when boating. Inexperience is a top cause of boating accidents. You must have knowledge of everything from how to manage emergencies to how your boat works.
- Speeding: Depending on the type of boat, you may be able to travel at extremely high speeds. Excessive speed increases the risk of tipping or colliding with another watercraft.
- Weather: Good weather can turn poor without notice. If you’re stuck on the water in inclement weather, such as heavy rain and strong winds, carefully navigate to the shore. Make it a habit to check the weather before taking to the water and keeping an eye on the sky.
- Wakes: Even if you’re obeying all the rules of the water, that doesn’t mean other boaters are doing the same. Another vessel could cause a wake, which can result in losing control of your boat.
If you’re injured in any type of boating accident, do your part in maintaining your safety and receiving immediate medical treatment.
Once you receive treatment and understand your injuries and prognosis, begin the process of collecting evidence pertaining to the accident. Doing so will help you understand what went wrong, who was at fault and if you can take any action to protect your legal rights.