For many people, boating is a serious hobby or a favorite relaxing pastime. For others, owning a boat is a goal they work hard to accomplish. Yet still others know how dangerous boats can be for the inexperienced or distracted, and how scary it is to be in a boating accident.
Boating accident injuries have been on the rise over the past decade due to a variety of factors. Inexperienced drivers taking over the wheel, distracted drivers paying attention to their phone or their guests instead of the waters, or even those who chose to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or another drug have caused countless injuries and fatalities.
In fact, so many accidents occur per year that it is common to have to seek out a boat accident lawyer so that the injured party can receive their deserved benefits.
Just how common are boating accidents and what kind of devastation can they leave in their wake? Here are 5 facts about boating crashes that will likely surprise you.
5 Startling Boat Accident Facts
- Boating safety regulations did help at one time less than two decades ago. In 1973, the highest number of boating fatalities ever was recorded at 1750 people. After that, boating safety laws and regulations have been enacted that helped to gradually reduce this number.
In 2004, there was a record low of 676 people, but since then, this number has again begun to rise.
- 84 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. Even though boating operators are required to learn about the law that says that every person in the boat must have an accessible life jacket, the overwhelming majority – almost 71 percent – of boating accident victims end up drowning. Most of these victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Boating accidents cause tens of millions of dollars worth of property damage annually. The record for boating accident property damage stands from 2008, when over $54,000,000 of damage was reported. However, most years see an average of over $30,000,000. This is a lot of money that has to be recouped by insurance companies in the form of larger premiums to all of their clients.
- Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in all fatal boating accidents. One out of seven fatalities in a boating crash is found to be due to either driver or passenger alcohol involvement. The other six fatalities were due to a combination of multiple factors: excessive speed, operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, and machinery failure being the primary contributing reasons.
- Boat accidents can cause serious injuries resulting in large settlements. Every accident is different, as is every injury. Some boating accidents are minor, in which case the settlements are usually minor to correlate with the injuries sustained.
Other injuries, however, can be life-altering, and – depending on the insurance involved – may end with substantially larger settlements.
For example, a case in which the victim fell off of the side of a large boat and landed on a deck 40 feet under him, resulting in a traumatic brain injury, ended with a settlement of almost $6 million.
Boat Accidents: The Facts Speak for Themselves
While many people consider boating a fun hobby, just like driving any other vehicle it requires skill, expertise, and constant focus. When any of these are missing, this fun hobby suddenly becomes a nightmare.