As the warm weather approaches and school is out, people in Florida, and across the country, start to plan vacations. Many of those vacations include water sports and boating excursions. While these are enjoyable activities, there is always the inherent danger of a boating accident. In a worst case scenario, these can end up as a fatal boating accident. The most recent statistics of accidents on boats can help to understand the risks that most people don’t like to think about.
The United States Coast Guard keeps track of accidents on boats. In 2014, there were 4,064 accidents. In those accidents, 2,678 people were injured and 610 people were killed. There was also an estimated $39 million in property damage in these incidents. For every 100,000 registered recreational boats, there were 5.2 deaths. That is a rise of 10.6 percent from the numbers in 2013. The overall number of accidents rose by 0.05 percent compared to 2013. Fatalities increased by nearly nine percent with injuries up by 2.2 percent.
There were numerous reasons why people died. Drowning was the cause in 78 percent. Of those, 84 percent were not wearing lifejackets. In 23 percent of the fatalities, the operator of the boat was not properly instructed in operating a boat. In 12 percent of the fatalities happened on vessels in which the operator was certified by a national organization to operate it. For the drowned boaters,
80 percent were on boats that were shorter than 21 feet. The most common causes were failure on the part of the operator to pay sufficient attention, speeding, alcohol use and inexperience.
Of the people who died, 12 were under the age of 13. Around 58 percent drowned. Fifty-seven percent were wearing a lifejacket. Motorboats had the highest number of incidents at 47 percent. Personal watercraft was next at 17 percent, followed by cabin motorboats at 15 percent. There was a 1.7 percent decrease in the number of vessels that were registered in 2014.
The sheer number of people who die in a fatal boating accident is concerning for those who plan to spend time on the water. Those who have already lost someone in a fatal accident on a boat need to know how to seek compensation in a wrongful death case with help from a legal professional.
Source: uscgboating.org, “2014 Recreational Boating Statistics – 2014 Executive Summary Page 6,” accessed on June 9, 2015