Every year, hundreds of people are killed in boat accidents across the United States. In 2017, 658 Americans were killed in boat accidents. Another 2,629 people were injured as a result of boat accidents. This number has increased more 9 percent since 2016. In South Carolina, officials are currently observing similar trends to those of the entire country.
Local news outlets have observed the increasing amount of boat accidents in recent years. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of fatal boat accidents per 100,000 boats increased from 3.4 to 4.4. While this increase is still below the national statistics, the increasing number of fatalities and injuries are cause for concern.
What are the Common Causes of Boat Accidents?
While every boating accident is unique, several factors appear in many boat accidents. According to statistics, some types of vessels are involved in far more fatal crashes than others. In 2017, the most dangerous kind of vessel was an open motorboat. These were responsible for 305 deaths and 1,367 injuries in 2017. Kayaks and canoes were the second and third most deadly and were responsible for 138 deaths.
There are also contributing factors that directly led to the accident that are often seen in an incident involving a boat. The number one contributing factor to boat accidents is operator inattention. While this caused 620 accidents, it only led to 45 fatalities and 381 injuries. The greatest number of deaths can be contributed to a boat operator who is under the influence of alcohol. While this is the fifth cause of boat accidents, it caused a total of 102 fatalities. Two hundred twenty-seven people were also injured in accidents caused by alcohol use.
Negligent operation of a boat was responsible for many other accidents in 2017. The second and third most common causes of accidents were improper lookout and operator inexperience, leading to a combined 907 accidents. Excessive speed and navigation rules violations also caused several hundred accidents last year.
Not every accident is due to negligence though. Sometimes, the causes of an accident are entirely outside the control of anyone involved. Machinery failure was responsible for 305 accidents, but only nine people were killed in these situations. Weather caused 40 fatalities last year while dangerous waters and force from waves or wakes were the ninth and tenth most common cause of accidents in 2017.
While negligence is not the cause of every boating accident, the causes that are outside of the operator’s control are often less deadly and less frequent.
Get Help for Your Injuries from A Boat Accident
Were you the victim of a boat accident caused by operator negligence? You may be entitled to compensation to help you deal with your medical bills and lost wages that resulted from that accident. Contact The Nye Law Group to learn how you can start to recover from your boat accident. Our experienced attorneys can offer you a free case evaluation to help you decide on your next steps.