Five Common Types of Boating Accidents
Almost every month is a good month to be out on the water in Florida. With gorgeous weather, diverse wildlife, and plenty of waterways, it’s no surprise that Florida leads the nation in water vehicle ownership.
Unfortunately, Florida also leads the nation in boating accidents. Around 14% of all boating accidents in the United States in 2014 (the most recent year statistics are available for from the United States Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division) occurred in Florida. In order to stay safe on the waterways, it is helpful to understand what kind of boating accidents are most common.
- COLLISION WITH A RECREATIONAL VEHICLE: The most common accident nationwide in 2014 was a collision of two vehicles. With the gorgeous view and sunny weather, it may be easy to become distracted by fishing, family, or just relaxing. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous. Of the 4064 U.S. boating accidents that occurred in 2014, 937 of them involved a collision with another vehicle. Approximately 70% of these boating accidents led to personal injuries. Focusing on driving and being attentive of surroundings can help reduce this kind of accident.
- FLOODING AND SWAMPING ACCIDENTS: While collisions accounted for 23% of accidents, flooding and swamping actually accounted for more deaths. Fifteen percent of flooding and swamping accidents in 2014 resulted in a fatality. Collisions in 2014 resulted in only 4.3% of all boating fatalities. Flooding and swamping can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers and those without life jackets. Poor weather conditions and cold water can increase the danger. Florida requires life vests to cut back on drowning deaths and data shows that those who do die because of drowning tend to be without their life vests. Inspecting your vehicle, checking the weather and the boating area, and wearing a life vest can help you avoid this kind of accident.
- COLLISION WITH A FIXED OBJECT: Driver inattention, inexperience, or inebriation can easily lead to a collision with a fixed object like a post or rock. Of the 4064 nationwide boating accidents reported in 2014, 11% involved a collision with a fixed object. This type of collision can easily be avoided. Drivers should focus on their surroundings and stay sober. Florida boating law, like traffic law, prohibits driving under the influence. Alcohol can increase your risk of an accident and slow your reaction times.
- GROUNDING: Sometimes sand bars and higher underwater landmasses are not as visible as boaters might like. When a boat meets one of these underwater features, they could become stuck or grounded. Grounding is the fourth most common type of boating accident. Approximately 9% of boating accidents in 2014 involved grounding. The best way to avoid accidental grounding your vessel and possibly stranding yourself is to know the area. In addition, your boat should always be equipped with safety equipment, a compass, and a GPS.
- SKIER MISHAP: Water skiing looks exciting—being pulled across the water at a quick speed, “effortlessly” keeping hold. Unfortunately, it is also the fifth most common type of boating accident. Hitting the water at a bad angle, being pulled by a poor driver, and drowning are all risks associated with water skiing. Water skiing accidents have the distinction of being the only type of accident that has more injuries than reported accidents. In 2014, there were 292 reported water skiing accidents with injuries to 305 people and 8 deaths. If you are thinking of water skiing, make sure your boat operator is well trained and knows how to safely pull a skier and a safe area to do so. You should also be comfortable with swimming and wear a life vest. Water skiing is a risky activity—but it can be done safely.
Need a Tampa Boating Accident Lawyer?
A boating accident can lead to serious injury and even death. If you’ve been harmed in an accident, it’s important to consult with a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Medical bills can pile up and some injuries may require further medical attention. You may be eligible for compensation or benefits that could help reduce your burden.
Consulting a Tampa personal injury lawyer about your boating accident can provide you with more information about your situation and how you can move forward with a case. A Tampa personal injury lawyer that specializes in boating accidents can use their expertise to maximize the chances of a positive outcome.
While some injuries are not obvious at the time of a boating accident, it is important to speak to a Tampa personal injury lawyer once it is clear that you have a serious injury. Boating accidents, which fall under personal injury law, are covered under the statute of limitations which provides a deadline for filing a claim. Consult with a reputable Tampa personal injury lawyer to learn more about whether you have a valid claim.