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What Causes Boating Accidents?

Boating is a big deal in Southwest Florida. With world famous beaches, world class fishing, and plenty to see and do while out on the water, no trip to the Southwest Florida coast is complete without at least one trip on the boat. While boating is largely safe when chartered with a professional, accidents can and do happen. In 2018, over 600 boating accidents occurred in Florida according to the US Coast Guard, and these resulted in 297 injuries, 57 deaths, and over $7 million in property damage. A day of boating should be a day of fun, but it’s best to be prepared in case of a worst case scenario.

Many boating accidents can be avoided, as they’re chalked up to operator error or negligence of some kind. Some of the most common causes of boating accidents in Southwest Florida include:

Operator inattention – Boat operators need to stay awake, alert, and at the helm at all times while operating a boat. In many cases, particularly on private boats with novice owners, complete attention isn’t paid to the vessel as operators get distracted with activities or passengers. Wind, water, and the elements can be unpredictable, as can other boaters on the water. When the operator is paying close attention to operating the boat, they can remain prepared for nearly all that comes their way.

Inexperience – Just like with driving a motor vehicle on the road, it’s important to respect experience or lack thereof while driving a boat. Operator inexperience is the third leading cause of boating accidents in Florida, as boating operators feel a bit too confident too quickly, only to learn that they may not possess the advanced skills they believed they had when an accident occurs. Before gaining years of on the water experience, it’s important to avoid excessive speeds, poor weather conditions, and hazardous areas.

Excessive speed – Like the roads in Southwest Florida, waterways also have speed limits. These are determined by the water’s specific conditions and hazards, and exceeding these speeds can have devastating consequences. Excessive speed on a boat in Florida can not only lead to devastating single boat boating accidents, but accidents with other vessels as well.

Use of alcohol – Boats have something of a relaxed, carefree, and party atmosphere. Use of alcohol on a boat should never include the boat operator, and boat operators should treat driving the boat in the same way they would driving a vehicle on the road.

Mechanical failure – Proper boat maintenance is incredibly important to happier days spent out on the water. Boat maintenance is the responsibility of the boat owner, and routine checks should be made before each trip out on the water. Unlike a motor vehicle, where one can pull over and turn the car off, you may find yourself stranded if a mechanical failure happens while on a boat. Mechanical failure can lead to fires, taking on water, and other potentially devastating consequences.

When any person steps aboard a vessel, they are looking for a day of safe fun and relaxation. Learning the causes of boating accidents in Southwest Florida can help you to do what you can to avoid a boating accident happening to you and your passengers. If you do find yourself in a boating accident in the Southwest Florida region, make sure the law is on your side. A skilled and experienced Southwest Florida personal injury attorney can help you through the post-accident process, ensuring you get the compensation you deserve from an insurance provider or negligent party.