California’s beautiful Pacific coastline spans over 1,300 miles. The entire state features several hundred lakes and reservoirs, creating even more open water space to enjoy on a boat. Many people enjoy fishing, sailing, and other recreational activities on the open water.
However, this peaceful activity can be marred with danger. While the majority of Californians follow safe boating practices, irresponsible boaters can cause a serious boating accident, leading to injury or even death.
The lawyers at Maho | Prentice, LLP advise you always to follow the rules of the waterways and practice safe boating to avoid the most common causes of boating accidents.
Major Cause of Boating Accidents
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics report gives a rundown of all boating accidents in the country. Over 5,000 accidents occurred last year when nearly 800 people died and over 3,000 were injured.
California has some of the biggest numbers of all, and these recent figures show that roughly 40 people have died in the past two years from boating accidents. But what is causing this to happen?
The Coast Guard found that the biggest factors that contributed to these accidents were operator inattention and inexperience. Speeding and machinery failure were other common causes of these accidents.
Alcohol is also another contributing factor in boating accidents, though not just in California. It factored into nearly 20% of the deaths from boating in the last year. While alcohol and boating do not mix, it’s just as deadly to get behind the wheel of a boat without proper boating safety instructions. Nearly 80% of all boating deaths were due to the operator of the boat lacking this essential knowledge.
Additionally, drownings account for most of the fatalities on the water. A shocking number of victims did not wear a life jacket. These sad statistics could have had a happier outcome if more people wore life jackets while boating.
Collisions were the most common type of accident where boaters would crash into other boats or fixed objects. Open motorboats had the highest death rate percentage, though kayaks, personal watercraft like jet skis, and pontoons also ranked highly in boating accidents.
In short, most boating accidents can be prevented. Carelessness and mistakes are truly the leading cause of injuries and deaths while boating.
How to Recover Damages for a Boating Accident
Your day in the sun and on the water may not have had the ending you’d hoped for. You could be injured, or you could lose a loved one. When others are irresponsible and speed on the waterways, drink alcohol, or operate a vessel negligently that puts everyone at risk, you have the right to pursue them for compensation.
There are criminal penalties they could face, but you will likely need help recovering your economic and non-economic damages that resulted from someone else’s negligence. If you have been injured in a boating accident or are grieving the loss of a loved one who was killed by a negligent boater, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate these claims and get what you deserve in compensation for your losses.