Common Reasons for Boating-Related Accidents

Florida is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and warm ocean waters. With so many opportunities for outdoor recreation, it is no wonder that Florida is home to many boating enthusiasts.

Boating can be an excellent way to spend time with friends and family, soak up the sun, and explore the open water. However, due to the inherent risks involved in operating a boat, one must always be alert and mindful of safety precautions. 

According to data from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in 2020, there were 836 boating accidents in the state of Florida. This is a 16% increase from 2019 when 721 accidents occurred. 

Sadly, 79 people lost their lives in boating accidents in 2020, which is 14 more than in 2019. Understanding the risks related to your time on the water is key in working to either avoid or prevent boating accidents. On that note, here are the most common reasons for boating-related accidents.

Operator Inattention

One of the most common causes of boating accidents is operator inattention. This means that the boat operator was not paying attention to what was happening around them or wasn’t focusing on their surroundings while operating the boat.

This type of accident can be caused by various factors, such as not keeping an eye out for other vessels, becoming distracted by conversations or other activities, or simply not being aware of the environment around them.

To prevent operator inattention from causing a boating accident, boat operators must always stay vigilant and pay attention to what is happening around them. Boat operators should look for other vessels and potential hazards, check their radar frequently, and be aware of any changes in weather conditions or other factors that may affect their safety.

It’s also important for operators to remain alert and sober while operating a vessel, as alcohol and drugs can impair judgment and increase the chances of a collision.

Improper Lookout

Being aware of what’s going on around you is an important part of safe boating. A proper lookout is vital to staying safe and avoiding a boat accident. Improper or no lookout is one of the most common causes of boating accidents. Improper lookout includes not having enough people looking out for hazards or not having the lookout in a position where they can see properly. 

An adequate lookout is important to spot any potential hazards or other boats in your path. A lookout should be alert and looking in all directions and be able to communicate with the boat’s operator if something is spotted. The lookout should also be ready to take over the controls if needed.

All operators must ensure that someone is always assigned to check for other vessels and potential hazards. This will help reduce the chances of an accident and ensure everyone on the boat stays safe.

Machinery Failure

Like other vessels and vehicles, boats need regular care and maintenance. This means regular engine checks, oil changes, among other boat upkeep responsibilities. Failure to properly maintain your boat leads to mechanical failure. 

Mechanical failure is a leading cause of boating accidents. Regular boat inspections and maintenance are key to preventing or avoiding mechanical problems. While you don’t have to be a pro to own a boat, you need a proper understanding of its operation and safety systems.

Inspect your engine and fuel system for any signs of deterioration. Check for worn or damaged parts and replace any that need attention. Make sure your fuel line and filters are free of debris and damage. Ensure your engine is properly tuned and properly lubricated and that the fuel/air mixture is balanced.

You need to take immediate action if you notice any strange or weird noises. Ensure you look out for smoke and sputter. If you cannot identify the source of both or even one of these, seek professional help immediately to prevent further damage or injury.

Weather Conditions

There are a lot of aspects of boating accidents you can control. However, some are beyond your control, and the best you can do is keep safe. Weather conditions are one of the leading causes of boating-related accidents. 

As a boater, you are responsible for knowing the forecast before heading out on the water and staying alert for any changes during your trip. Wind and waves can become hazardous very quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to turn back if necessary.

Boaters should also consider the visibility when on the water. Fog, rain, and other low-visibility weather can make it difficult to see other vessels or hazards, so always stay alert when navigating these conditions. Also, be aware of thunderstorms and lightning, as they can pose a significant risk while on the water. Boaters should plan to get off the water if storms are in the forecast or already present. 

Alcohol Use

The use of alcohol while operating a boat is one of the leading causes of boating accidents. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), nearly one-third of all fatal boating accidents in Florida involve alcohol use.

Alcohol affects judgment and motor skills, making it dangerous to operate a boat. It can impair an operator’s vision and reaction time, making it difficult to navigate or react quickly in dangerous situations. In some states, including Florida, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

Additionally, any passengers on the boat should be aware of their alcohol consumption, as they can also be charged with boating under the influence. For these reasons, all operators and passengers need to abstain from alcohol when operating or riding in a boat.

Poorly Designed Boats

When done right, boating is not only fun but relaxing as well. To ensure you sail into the sunset and go back home safely, one thing you need to remember is to check the design of your boat. Whether you are renting or own a boat, you need to look at how your boat is built.

Poorly designed boats can be difficult to maneuver, making it more likely that an accident will occur. Besides, maneuvering the hull’s improper shape or the engine’s placement can make a boat more prone to capsizing or colliding with other vessels.

It is also important to make sure the proper safety equipment is on board, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, and that all devices are working properly. Additionally, make sure the boat is properly maintained and inspected regularly. Plus, avoid making unnecessary modifications to your boat.

Contact a Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers Pompano Beach Boat Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident in Pompano Beach, you should contact a knowledgeable boat accident lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers are here to help Pompano Beach clients. Our attorneys will examine the facts of your case to determine if any party is liable for damages. We can also provide advice about filing an insurance claim.

We understand that filing a boat accident claim can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Our lawyers are here to help you through the process, ensuring that you are fully informed and represented every step of the way. We have successfully represented injured clients due to careless operators, faulty equipment, and other causes.

No matter what the cause of your accident is, our team of experienced Pompano Beach boat accident lawyers is here to help. With years of experience in personal injury law, we are confident that we can handle your case and secure a positive outcome for you and your family. Contact us at (561) 800-8000 to schedule your consultation and discuss your legal options.

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