Main Causes of Boating Accidents in Kentucky
The statistics from the United States Coast Guard are sobering. In 2015, 626 people were killed in boating accidents and another 2,613 were injured. This equals a death rate of 5.3 for every 100,000 registered boats. Some other statistics released by the Coast Guard in its annual report include:
- 17 percent of fatal boating accidents involved drivers or passengers who had consumed too much alcohol
- Drowning was the cause of slightly more than three-quarters of the fatalities in 2015
- Smaller boats under 21 feet are implicated in 80 percent of boating accidents
- More than 80 percent of those who drowned weren’t wearing life jackets
Boating is becoming increasingly popular in Kentucky due to our large number of bays, lakes, rivers, and streams. Whether fishing or just out for a leisurely afternoon on the water, people want to take advantage of all that our state has to offer. Accidents are decreasing according to the Coast Guard, but the accidents that do occur are more deadly and serious than ever.
Factors Most Responsible for Causing Boating Accidents
As noted above, irresponsible alcohol consumption causes nearly one in five boating accidents. An impaired driver has slower reflexes and more difficulty coping with other challenges on the water. In addition to alcohol, the following are among the most common causes of boating injuries and deaths according to the Coast Guard:
- Inexperience of the driver: Even in warmer climates like Kentucky, boat drivers only spend an average of 100 hours a year in the water. This makes them less likely to know how to respond to an unfamiliar situation than a boater with extensive training and experience.
- Inattention of the driver: Just as with automobiles, disastrous consequences can occur when a boat driver allows his or her mind to wander. Many boat drivers fail to realize that driving on water is more unpredictable than driving on land.
- Severe weather: A storm can come on suddenly and capsize a boat. However, more accidents occur due to the driver and passengers simply not respecting the power of Mother Nature. It’s essential to get an accurate weather forecast before even getting into the boat.
- Speeding: It can be tempting to speed when it looks like there is no one else on the water. It brings a feeling of exhilaration and freedom. However, there’s nothing safe about it. If an obstacle or another boat suddenly appears, a speeding driver might not have enough time to avoid a collision.
- Forceful waves and wakes: Every moving boat creates a wave and wake, which can be forceful enough to knock drivers, passengers, and those in other boats out of their seat and into the water.
- Improper boat maintenance: All types of vehicles need routine maintenance and prompt repairs, including recreational ones. The failure to fix a broken part can result in a serious accident. Anyone who drives a boat should have it routinely checked for mechanical failure.
- Ignorance of waterway rules or failure to adhere to them: All boat drivers should understand when to slow down, yield, and make their presence known to other boaters. Driving without understanding or obeying such rules can cause injury or death.
Have You Been Injured by the Actions of a Careless Kentucky Boater?
The physical, emotional, and financial effects of a boating accident can impact you or a loved one for years, maybe even the remainder of your life. If you were the driver or passenger injured by another boat on the water or the passenger in a boat driven by a negligent operator, you may be able to recover damages.
To file and win a personal injury case, you must prove that the actions of another party are completely responsible for your injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Lanna Martin Kilgore, PLLC have decades of combined experience proving fault in such cases and obtaining a fair settlement for their clients. Please contact our office in Bowling Green, Kentucky to schedule your free case evaluation. Contact us at (270) 846-3700.