Now that summer is here, many Floridians and visitors to South Florida are planning recreational boating trips. For some people, recreational boating involves the use of your boat. Yet, for many others, recreational boating involves renting a vessel and, in many cases, failing to go through recommended safety training courses that are recommended for safe boating. Many boat accidents happen when operators do not have proper safety training. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that, even with appropriate safety training, a boat operator’s negligence can still result in a serious or deadly boat accident.
Each year, the U.S. Coast Guard publishes recreational boating statistics from the previous year. We want to tell you more about some of the boating accident trends from last season in hopes of preventing crashes this summer.
Boat Accidents Are Increasing
In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard reported a total of 4,168 boating accidents in the country. In those accidents, a total of 613 people died, and 2,559 suffered injuries. To put the fatality rate in perspective, there was a total fatality rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vehicles. Although the increase was not substantial, these accident totals represent an increase from the previous year. The total number of accidents rose by 0.6 percent, and the total number of injuries rose by 1.9 percent.
Boating Instruction Likely Plays a Role in Accident Rates
Boat operators who have completed boating safety instruction are involved in accidents less often than boat operators who have not completed any safety training. According to the USCG, last year, 70 percent of boating accident deaths occurred in incidents, “where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction.” In comparison, “only 20 percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally approved boating safety education certificate.”
As those statistics suggest, taking a boating accident safety course may be able to reduce the likelihood of an accident significantly.
Alcohol Remains a Significant Factor in Boating Accidents
Alcohol ranked as one of the top contributing factors in boat accidents in 2019, followed by operator distraction or inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and keeping an improper lookout. Alcohol is also the leading contributing factor in deadly boat accidents and is listed as the cause of 23 percent of fatal boat crashes.
Most Boating Accident Fatalities Are Drownings
While boating accidents can certainly result in many different types of injuries, deaths occur most frequently from drownings. Nearly 80 percent of deaths that happen in boat crashes happen because a person drowns. In a large majority of these cases, the drowning victim was not wearing a life jacket. Indeed, about 86 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.
Contact a Florida Boat Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in a boat accident and need assistance filing a claim, one of the experienced West Palm Beach boating accident attorneys at our firm can assist you. Do not hesitate to get in touch to learn more about filing a lawsuit. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC to learn more about the personal injury services we provide to plaintiffs in West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida.