There are a number of causes of the boating accidents that occur on Lake Monroe, Lake James or any of the dozens of other scenic and beautiful lakes in Indiana. However, the most prevalent factor, by far, is operator inattention or distraction.
According to Coast Guard data, the most common cause of boating accidents in Indiana and round the country is operator distraction. These distractions can come in a number of forms.
A major cause of operator inattention is distractions from electronic communication devices. The lure of using a cell phone to connect with people on social media and post images of your sailing journey is always a strong one.
Cell phones and electronic communication devices are a primary cause of operator distraction, but not the only ones. Often, distractions come from unruly passengers on the boat. Noisy crew members and drunk passengers can cause the boat operator’s attention to waver.
Distraction is also a primary factor in another closely-related cause of boating accidents: improper lookout. A lookout is someone who is designated to identify potential threats and hazards, often the operator himself. If this person is distracted, it only adds to the danger facing everyone on the boat.
According to data from the National Association of State Boating law Administrators, operator inaction and improper lookout account for close to a quarter of all boating accidents recorded in the United States. They also represent as many as 14 percent of all fatalities in such accidents.
None of this means that alcohol use is a less important factor in boating accidents- it is not, however, the most commonly recorded one. Be careful with alcohol use on a boat. The operator should not be drinking alcohol at all. Passengers should limit the number of drinks they consume in order not to distract the boater or endanger the safety of others on the boat.
Stay safe when you are boating on Indiana’s lakes this summer. Always wear a life vest. If you are the operator, make sure that everyone on the boat is wearing a life vest too. Make sure that your boat is in perfect shape.
The Indianapolis boating accident lawyers at Montross Miller represent victims of boating accidents in the Indianapolis region and across Indiana.