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9 Top Causes Of Boating Accidents

There is nothing quite like being out on the boat in the warm Florida weather. The bright sunshine on your skin and that wonderful sea breeze. As great as it is, taking a nice ride on the water can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful.

1. Running out of gas

When you run out of gas on the highway it isn’t such a big deal. You can just call AAA or a friend to come rescue you. Even when you are on the water, you can usually call a towing agency to bring you the fuel you need. However, if you happen to run out while in the Gulf Stream or in the middle of an unexpected storm, you could be in big trouble.

2. Running aground

Typically, grounding your boat is only embarrassing rather than life threatening. Whether poor judgement or someone distracted you when you were pulling in, it is a pretty common and often innocent mistake to make. However, it isn’t the grounding that hurts you, but the sudden stop that lurches everyone forward.

3. Falling overboard

Much like with grounding, falling overboard is another event that is usually just a short-lived humiliation. Still, not everyone who falls is so lucky. For example, if you fall over in the water and hit your head on a rock then you might knock yourself unconscious or worse. This is especially dangerous for those who are driving alone.

4. Sinking

We’ve all watched the cartoons where someone has a hole in their boat and the characters are hilariously trying to get the water out. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too real and not that funny. For this reason you need to make sure the hull fittings are in good shape before taking the boat out for a spin.

5. Catching fire

While this isn’t as common as it used to be thanks to better spark protected mechanical systems and double-clamped fuel lines, it still happens. Before departing, always sniff the bilge for any stray fuel fumes and look for any signs of leakage. Additionally, make sure there is a working fire extinguisher on board just in case.

6. Breaking down

Mechanical failure can be blamed for a lot of serious accidents that occur on the water. For example, if your battery is faulty then the boat won’t start and your light won’t work. This situation can be especially dangerous at night when no one will be able to even spot your boat and you will find yourself helpless and stranded.

7. Speeding at night

One of the main reasons why boating accidents occur is when their drivers fail to maintain a safe speed on the water. This is even more dangerous at night when other boats are harder to spot. While you might be eager get back home, slow and steady is what wins the race.

8. Lacking proper safety gear

Despite the many warnings, many boaters neglect to have proper safety equipment on the boat. Often they will head out without the proper number or sizes of life jackets. This can be especially dangerous for children on board. Others may depart without properly working lights, flares or horn to alert other boaters when they are in trouble. It might seem bothersome, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

9. Ignoring the weather

As excited as you might be to get out on the water, you shouldn’t ignore the weather. Even if the day looks bright and sunny, it can change at a moment’s notice. If possible, try to keep handheld VHF radio so you can keep track of the weather while on the boat.