It’s that time of year when many residents of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania enjoy a day of boating. Some enjoy getting out the fishing poles for a big catch. Other do it for recreational fun. As with any other type of motorized vehicle, boating crashes can occur, however.
If you think boat crashes aren’t that prevalent, think again. According to a report by the United States Coast Guard, there were approximately 4,291 boat crashes across the US that resulted in 658 deaths, and 2,629 injuries.
In fatal boat crashes where the cause was known:
- 76 percent of victims drowned – 84.5 percent weren’t wearing life jackets
- 19 percent of deaths were alcohol-related
- 81 percent of deaths involved operators who didn’t receive safety instructions
- 31 people died after being struck by a propeller
- 47 percent of deaths involved open motorboats, 15 percent involved kayaks, and seven percent involved personal watercraft
The top five primary accident types included:
- Collisions with recreational vessels – 1,145 incidents, 49 deaths, and 721 injuries
- Collisions with fixed objects – 470 incidents, 63 deaths, and 327 injuries
- Flooding/swamping – 435 incidents, 76 deaths, and 132 injuries
- Grounding – 368 incidents, 17 deaths, and 224 injuries
- Falls overboard – 306 incidents, 179 deaths, and 126 injuries
Factors involved in boat crashes
Just like crashes involving cars, boating accidents are often caused by human error, mechanical defects, and environmental factors. Among the leading factors, boating collisions were caused by:
- Operator inattention – 620 incidents, 45 deaths, and 381 injuries
- Improper lookout – 471 incidents, 23 deaths, and 337 injuries
- Operator inexperience – 436 incidents, 63 deaths, and 249 injuries
- Machinery failure – 305 incidents, nine deaths, and 80 injuries
- Alcohol use – 275 incidents, 102 deaths, and 227 injuries
- Excessive speed – 269 incidents, 11 deaths, and 247 injuries
- Navigation rules violation – 257 incidents, 22 deaths, and 165 injuries
- Weather conditions – 198 incidents, 40 deaths, and 60 injuries
- Hazardous waters – 187 incidents, 64 deaths, and 124 injuries
- Force of wave/wake – 169 incidents, 17 deaths, and 148 injuries
Injured in the Tri-state area? Contact our law office for legal help.
Boat crashes occur locally to the Tri-state area. In 2017, West Virginia had 12 boat crashes, which resulted in three deaths. Ohio had 117 boat crashes with 20 deaths, and Pennsylvania had 69 boat crashes with 15 deaths.
In the event of a crash, operators or vessel owners are required to report the incident to state reporting authority within 48 hours if:
- A person dies within 24 hours of an incident
- A person is injured and requires medical attention
- An occupant disappears from a vessel
Whether you’re an operator or passenger injured in a boat crash, it’s critical that you discuss your matter with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Recht Law Office. Our legal team represents injury victims and their families throughout in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Contact us today to find out how we can help.