Boating is fun, and when done safely, it ensures that you, your passengers, and other boaters enjoy the summer without worrying about your safety. As a boater, regardless of how many years of experience you possess, you need to know and understand the importance of boating accidents and their causes. Sadly, some myths and misconceptions about boating accidents can lead to danger on the water.
These myths and misconceptions can mislead even the most seasoned of boaters. From operator inexperience to poor boat maintenance, various things can contribute to unfortunate incidents on the water.
Boating Accidents Only Happen to Inexperienced Boaters
Everyone, from experienced boaters to newbies, can be involved in an accident. The reality is that boating accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of their expertise.
Factors such as poor weather conditions, high speeds, and boat overcrowding can all contribute to risk – and even an experienced captain can’t always account for them. Other external factors, such as debris in the water or faulty equipment, may also contribute to a collision.
Life Jackets Aren’t Important if You’re a Strong Swimmer
Life jackets are not made to be comfortable, and nine out of ten times, you may find wearing one more of an annoying nuisance than an essential tool. The truth is, a life jacket can be the difference between life and death if you fall out of a boat. That’s because even strong swimmers can struggle against currents or unpredictable waves. Moreover, if you are knocked unconscious, a life jacket can keep you floating.
Statistics show that 81 percent of boating fatalities resulted from drowning, and 83 percent weren’t wearing a life jacket. Checking to ensure everyone on board is wearing a well-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket isn’t just common sense—it’s the law!
Powerboats Are More Dangerous Than Other Vessels
You might think that powerboats are more dangerous than other types of vessels, but the fact is that all boats come with risks. Granted, bigger boats like motorboats can be more problematic, but that comes down to the driver’s experience and the conditions on the water. The truth is that the type of boat you have is not what makes your trip less safe—it’s how you use it.
Boating Under the Influence Is Safer Than Driving Under the Influence
The fourth myth, and one that’s probably responsible for a lot of tragic accidents, is that it’s safer to boat under the influence than it is to drive. Boating under the influence is as dangerous and illegal as driving, and operating any vessel while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a recipe for disaster and comes with major risks and consequences.
Boating Accidents Mostly Happen on Lakes and Rivers, Not Oceans
Many people assume that most boating accidents mainly happen in rivers and lakes. However, this is not true. In a side-by-side comparison, most boating accidents happen in oceans and other open waters. In 2020 the United States Coast Guard reported 2,641 recreational boating accident injuries in coastal waters such as the oceans and bays.
So why do more boating accidents happen at sea? There could be a couple of reasons why these numbers were this high, with everything from speed to recklessness. Oceans are much bigger than lakes and rivers, so more vessels also mean more potential for collisions and other accidents.
Weather Plays a Significant Role in Boating Accidents
You might be surprised that weather doesn’t significantly affect boating accidents. While bad weather does make for unconducive boating environments, it is not as big of a factor in the number of boating accidents attributed to it. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that more than 77% of all boating accidents in 2020 were due to operator error or lack of recommended safe operating practices, even during bad weather.If you or a loved one have been involved in a boating accident, contact Silver Injury Law as soon as possible. Evidence can spoil quickly, and our team has decades of experience in handling such cases and getting the best possible results for our clients.