There are reports every summer of severe injuries and deaths linked to recreational boating. Whether on the Connecticut River, Housatonic River or the Thames River in New London, those enjoying a trip out on the water should be aware of the risks of harm and ways to prevent boating accidents.
According to the Coast Guard, in 2020, 5,265 watercraft accidents in the United States resulted in 767 deaths, 3,191 injuries and approximately $62.5 million in damage. There are more boating related deaths every year than those caused by riding on a plane or train.
Common causes of injuries
Some of the most common causes of boat-related injuries are:
- Operator error: As with driving a car, boat captains can be negligent — from failing to keep a lookout for other boats to unsafe maneuvers to failing to have enough life vests on board.
- Alcohol: Boating while intoxicated is extremely dangerous and studies have shown that consuming one alcoholic beverage while driving a boat is the same as consuming three on dry land. An estimated 18% of all deaths on the water involve alcohol as a contributing factor.
- Fewer guidelines: Unlike driving a car or truck, there are few “rules of the road” associated with boating. Channels and no wake zones require boaters to drive slowly, but the open water is typically unmarked and relatively unregulated. Hazards are often similarly unmarked as well.
- Long days: Fatigue and dehydration from a day in the sun can adversely affect the judgment of boaters and those enjoying the water.
Boaters and their guests should be aware of the dangers of being out on the water to avoid accidents and injuries. If you have been injured in a boating accident, you should contact an attorney with experience in these types of cases.