Cruising across the water can be exhilarating, but it can also be dangerous. Serious accidents can occur without warning, turning a fun-filled outing into a devastating tragedy in an instant. At Karns & Kerrison, we work hard to protect Rhode Island citizens who are injured or killed while enjoying water recreation across the state. Here is everything you need to know about boating accidents.
It may be a relief for you to know that American Boating reports that, over the past two decades, the number of accidents, injuries and deaths have decreased dramatically. In 1997, over 800 recreational boating deaths were reported, while 2015 saw a 200 point drop down to 626 fatalities. The number of injuries was cut by almost 50 percent, with the 4,555 injuries in 1997 dropping to 2,613 in 2015. Boating accidents as a whole were lowered to almost half the amount with the 8,047 accidents being reduced to 4,158 over the same time period.
Most often, the cause of death was drowning. This can often be prevented if you make sure that everyone in the boat is wearing a life jacket. Where reports are available, 85 percent of victims were not wearing life jackets. Operator instruction was also a big factor in boating accidents, with 71 percent of drivers receiving inadequate safety instruction. The top causes of accidents included excessive speed, machinery failure, improper lookout and operator inattention or inexperience. Alcohol use was the leading factor.
Boating accidents can not only be deadly, but also expensive. The U.S. Coast Guard states that the low number of recreational boating accidents in 2015 still resulted in $42 million in property damage. You can learn more about this subject by visiting our web page about boating accidents.