What Is The Most Common Cause Of Boating Accidents?

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Boating Accidents?

The Magnolia State’s location on the Gulf of Mexico provides unlimited opportunities for boating. Mississippi is home to picturesque lakes and unique reservoirs, as well. There is a broad range of exciting boating adventures. Unfortunately, while these activities are intended to be a fun adventure, it takes only a second of recklessness to cause an accident. If you or a loved one was involved in a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. 

At Lott Law, we fight for justice and work tirelessly to secure the maximum amount of recovery for victims and their families under the law. If you are a victim of a boating accident, you have experienced enough difficulties in the wake of an accident – let our team help you navigate the next steps. Consider connecting with our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation today at (228) 215-2787.

What Is a Boating Accident?

Boating accidents refer to all accidents that occur on or with a boat. These accidents encompass several types of vessels, from sailboats to speedboats to jet skis. Generally, these accidents happen when a boat collides with another vessel or an obstacle, such as a reef or a dock. 

Why Are These Accidents Legally Complex?

When an accident occurs on a lake, river, or other landlocked body of water, it typically falls under the purview of state and local laws. Boating accidents that happen at sea, on the other hand, fall under maritime law – a highly complex area of federal law. Maritime law governs what happens on any waters navigable within the United States for interstate or foreign commerce, including recreational boating. 

What Is the Main Cause of Boating Accidents?

Based on data from the United States Coast Guard, over 4,000 recreational boating accidents occurred in 2022, resulting in over 600 deaths, 2,200 injuries, and approximately $63 million in damaged property. Colliding with other recreational vessels was the most common accident type, followed closely by collision with a fixed object, flooding, and grounding. 

Falls overboard also accounted for over 200 deaths. The majority of these accidents occurred on motorboats, but personal watercraft, pontoons, kayaks, and cabin motor boats were also commonly involved in boating accidents. Even if you are responsible and exercise diligence in controlling your vessel, accidents can still occur. The following are some of the main causes of boating accidents in the United States. 

Inattention & Inexperience

Operator inattention and inexperience contribute to boating accidents. Out of all boating accident causes, inattention ranks number one as the most common cause of accidents in water.  As is true with any other vehicle, operating a boat is a major responsibility. You must pay attention to other boaters, swimmers, kayakers, jet skiers, and submerged objects and while you may be attentive and experienced, that does not necessarily mean others are as well. 

Excessive Speed

Speeding while operating a boat decreases your reaction time and increases other risk factors that lead to accidents. In the same way that you would slow down on a congested roadway, it is necessary to decrease speed while operating a boat on a populated body of water. 

Machinery Failure

Some serious boating accidents are caused by a defect or failure of a boat’s machinery. This may be due to defective parts, or a result of regular wear and tear. If you were involved in an accident due to machinery failure, it is necessary to seek legal assistance to help hold the right parties accountable and secure compensation for damaged property and any injuries sustained due to the accident. At Lott Law, our Pascagoula personal injury attorneys will fight diligently to recover full and fair compensation after a watercraft machinery failure incident. 

Weather & Hazardous Waters

Poor weather causes hazardous conditions that make it difficult for operators to manage. When the water is choppy, a boat can easily flood or capsize. Be aware of local weather reports and ensure that you remain off the water in inclement weather. 

Alcohol & Intoxication

When it is a warm and sunny day on the water, it is easy to feel tempted to have a drink. You should not drink and drive a motor vehicle, and the same is true about boats. When you operate a boat, you are taking responsibility for yourself, your passengers, and those around you. 

Alcohol impacts judgment, vision, balance, and coordination, increasing the likelihood of accidents on the water. Indeed, the Mississippi Alcohol Boating Safety Act makes it illegal to operate a watercraft on public waters while under the influence of alcohol or other substances that may impair a person’s ability to operate a boat. 

Failure to Follow Navigation Rules

Most states offer a variety of resources for boating operations, and Mississippi is no different. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources publishes the requirements when boating on Mississippi waterways, and it is important to abide by these rules to avoid costly boating accidents. 

Force of Wake and Wave

A wake follows in the track of a moving watercraft. Boat wakes have been consistently listed among the top contributing factors for boating accidents, and it is important to be aware of your surroundings when in the proximity of other boats. Paying attention to no-wake zones is also necessary to keep people safe and avoid being issued a citation on the water. 

What Is a Major Contributor to Most Boating Accidents?

Taking into account the top causes of boating accidents in the United States, it is clear that the primary contributor to most accidents on the water is operator negligence. Individuals who operate their watercraft while under the influence of alcohol, who fail to pay attention while operating their boat, and who do not heed weather warnings put others at risk of being involved in an accident. If you were involved in an accident due to the negligence of another operator, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries and losses you sustained as a result. 

Speak With an Experienced Attorney at Lott Law to Discuss Your Options

Being involved in a recreational boating accident can be devastating. When an injury occurs, or when a life is lost, victims of the accident often do not receive the compensation or justice they deserve under the law. The experienced boating attorneys at Lott Law understand what is at stake. For decades, our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys have worked diligently to secure full and fair compensation for victims of boating accidents in Mississippi. Consider contacting us at (228) 215-2787 to discuss your next steps today.