As summer finally arrives, thousands of New Yorkers will take to the water, whether their choice is the ocean, a lake, or a river. Boat-related recreation takes a huge number of forms, from fishing and swimming to waterskiing and exploring. Unfortunately, along with a spike in boating comes a spike in boating accidents. In fact, according to the 2012 New York Recreational Boating Report, there were 241 boating accidents in New York State, which left 126 injured and 26 dead.
What causes these boating accidents, injuries, and deaths? While you might guess that rough waters or weather contributes to the majority accidents, the truth is that the most accidents take place on calm and clear days.
Here are the top causes of boating accidents in New York State:
- Inexperience: The most common cause of boating accidents is simply inexperienced boat operators. Boaters who are renting vessels or who have had a long winter away from the water make simple mistakes in navigation or operation that end in capsizing or collision. To prevent these accidents, be sure to carefully learn about your boat and its operation before getting on the water.
- Distraction or inattention: The second most common type of boat accident is caused by a lack of attention. Boaters who are having too much fun recreating or socializing may not have their eyes on the water or their hands on the controls. Alternatively, a boat may not have an attentive lookout, causing the boat to collide with another vessel.
- Impaired boating: Up to one-third of all boating accidents involve a boat operator who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While boating often involves having a cold drink and enjoying the summer day, the boat operator should understand that drinking and boating can have serious consequences – not to mention that it’s illegal.
- Adverse conditions: Always read the weather reports before taking your boat out. Even if it’s a clear day, water conditions and weather conditions can change in a matter of minutes. Storms can easily cause boats to take on water or capsize.
- Improper maintenance: If you don’t properly care for your boat, an accident can easily occur. Be sure to keep your boat carefully maintained, and be especially cautious and aware at the beginning of the season when you take your boat out for the first time.
- Rule Violations: The rules and laws are in place for a reason. Violating the laws can lead to dangerous situations, accidents, and injuries. The biggest rule violation that causes boating accidents each year is speeding. Be aware of your speed.
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Get an attorney who has specific experience handling boating accidents and boat-related injuries. To schedule a free, private consultation with a boat accident attorney at Jones Hacker Murphy, please call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form. Stop wondering if you could get justice and compensation after your accident and get all of your questions answered.