Summer is here, with all the boating and watercraft activity that goes with the season. Indiana officials are on the alert for an increase in collisions and accidents on the water.
Indian officials are warning residents about the dangers involved in boating and operating watercraft on water bodies across the state. One of the dangers involved in boating is how safe everyone seems to think the activity is. Nothing could be further from the truth. The kind of dangers that you can expect when you are traveling on motorways is very similar to the kind of risks that face you as you are sailing on Indiana’s waterways.
According to a recent review of US Coast Guard boating accident statistics from 2006 to 2015, at least 65 of boat accidents during this period of time occurred on the Lake, Porter, and La Porte County waterways. 14 people died in those accidents, and 34 injuries were reported. Those accidents were associated with more than $627,000 in damages.
In at least 6% of the accidents that were analyzed as part of the data, lack of experience was cited as a major factor. However, according to officials, inexperience is an even bigger factor in boating accidents than people believe or the records show.
Another major factor in boating accidents is alcohol use, accounting for approximately 15% of the accidents that were analyzed during the study period.
There’s more bad news. The Coast Guard reports that there has been a rise in the number of boating accidents reported from around the country. In 2016, the US Coast Guard received reports of 4,463 boating accidents across the country. That accounted for a close to 7% increase over the previous year. The biggest cause of boating accidents in 2016 was alcohol use, followed by boater inexperience and dangerous water conditions.
Everyone knows that alcohol and driving do not mix. But the dangers that you can expect when you’re operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol are comparable to the risks associated with operating watercraft under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, the sunny weather and calm waters can lull boaters into a sense of complacency, making them more likely to take the kind of risks that are associated with boating accidents.
This summer, avoid drinking alcohol while boating and ensure that the person operating your boat is off alcohol too. Also, make sure that everyone in your watercraft is wearing a personal flotation device. Avoid excessive speeds on the water. Remember, water can be hazardously deceptive, and even safe water conditions can conceal dangerous risks.
If you or a loved one were injured in a boating accident, speak to an Indianapolis boating accident lawyer at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP and discuss your legal options for a claim for compensation.