Common Causes of Boat Accidents
Operator inattention – A boater must stay vigilant and constantly monitor their boat position and speed. However, even the most weathered captain has lapses in judgment. Complicating factors that can increase the likelihood of a boat accident include unsafe or unpredictable weather patterns, as well as unseen objects in the water. Glare from the sun can be distracting and obscure a boater’s vision.
Inexperienced recreational boaters – Boats may look easy to operate but safe boating requires proper training and experience. Unlike cars, boats don’t have brakes and typically aren’t limited to well defined driving lanes. Accidents often occur when boaters overestimate their abilities and don’t know boating rules.
Excessive speed – Not only don’t boats have brakes but at high speeds they require large areas of water to turn or stop. As is the case with most vehicle accidents, boating crashes often result from driving too fast for conditions.
Impaired operation – Drinking while boating is commonplace but alcohol is often a factor in serious accidents on the water. As with driving an automobile, boaters with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.08% may be arrested for DUI and face criminal prosecution.
Equipment failure –The marine environment is harsh on boats and boating components. Accidents can, and do, occur when boaters neglect proper maintenance or fail to replace defective safety equipment.
Dangerous waters – A tranquil sea can become a perilous ocean in a matters of minutes. Windstorms, lightning, fog and other factors can quickly turn a fun day of boating into a nightmare if weather conditions are not properly monitored both before and during an outing on the water.
Forceful waves or wake – Large waves and wakes from other vessels are hazardous, especially when they arrive unexpectedly. Inattentive passengers can quickly find themselves overboard when an unseen wake hit a boat’s hull.