New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

How to Prevent Boating Accidents and Injuries

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Boating Accidents, Personal Injury

According to the US Coastguard, in 2013, 4,062 boating accidents occurred in the United States and of these, 560 of them resulted in fatalities.

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Additionally, these accidents injured more than 2,600 individuals who were on or near the vessel. Although that number has lowered by about 12% compared to 2012, the figures are still very high. Recreational boating accidents also cost roughly $39 million in property damage.

Tips to Prevent Boating Accidents

Here is a list of the common causes of injuries caused by boating accidents and how to prevent them:

  • Capsizing – This is the leading cause of boating-related deaths. Many accidents take place in twilight when the conditions of light and alcohol may play a role. Smaller vessels also have a higher risk of capsizing when they are anchored from the stern. Boats are designed to cut through swells and water first so when a swell suddenly gushes with water or the stern is impacted by a rogue wave, the boat can capsize.
    • Prevention – As in the case of cars, boaters need to make sure that they have a designated driver if there is alcohol involved. You should also be careful while docking and maneuvering at night and in twilight. If you use an anchor, make sure that you secure it from the bow of the boat and not the side or rear.
  • Improper Forward Watch – If the boater is not aware of anything that may cross the boat’s path, an accident can occur. Even when trolling or drifting, hitting an object at slow speed can be disastrous or a passenger could be sent overboard. Typically, collisions occur due to driver distraction.
    • Prevention – The vessel driver must keep their eyes on what is ahead at all times with occasional glances at both sides for other vehicles that may be approaching. You should make sure that you check all directions before changing or turning directions. Even when the power is off and the boast is drifting, you need to be aware of what is happening in the water that surrounds the boat or vessel.
  • Man Overboard – A boater can be sent overboard by rough waters or weather and maneuvering. Powerboats can turn with lots of force and eject a passenger if they are not seated securely or are caught off guard. Sails swing and change positions when a sailboat turns and can easily knock an occupant into the water and cause serious injury as well.
    • Prevention – It is best to make sure that everyone is seated when a boat is in motion. Experienced powerboat captains will make sure that everyone is secure when they are preparing to turn. On sailboats, it is a protocol for the skipper to warn passengers of an impending turn by calling out loud, “Prepare to jibe”. And just as the turn is being made, they call out, “Jibe ho!” This prepares everyone to make sure that they are secure while the boat is turning and no one falls overboard.

If you or a loved one has been in a boating accident caused by negligence or recklessness, you should immediately consult the experienced and reliable personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falloff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280. You can discuss the merits of your case at a free consultation.

We know how to win cases. We win cases all the time and not by luck or stubbornness, by skill and legal acuity. We know what works and what does not. Call RMFW Law ASAP – the other side will certainly not do this for you.

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