Top 5 Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Boating can require more attention, care, and skill than operating a motor vehicle due to the size and maneuverability of a watercraft compared to a car. Boats also lack the safety technologies commonly found in most motor vehicles today.


Even a few moments of carelessness can lead to a devastating boating accident. Below, we’ve highlighted five of the most common causes of boating or watercraft accidents.


Inadequate Operator Training and Experience


Boat operators can reduce their risk of an accident by obtaining education and training in boat safety from a state- or U.S. Coast Guard-sponsored boating education course. Boat safety courses can teach new boaters fundamentals such as navigation, sailing, operating around other watercraft or swimmers, and watercraft safety. People who operate boats without knowing these fundamentals have a much higher chance of causing a devastating boating accident, such as colliding with another craft or striking a swimmer.


Inadequate boating experience may also lead people to get on the water in unsafe weather conditions, including heavy seas, high winds, heavy precipitation, or fog. Boaters must know their craft’s limits and avoid going out or return to harbor when weather conditions preclude safe boating.


Drug or Alcohol Intoxication


People spending a day on the water may choose to indulge in alcoholic beverages or drugs. However, a boat operator who consumes alcohol or drugs can impair their ability to operate their craft safely. In Connecticut, a person cannot operate a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. State law imposes the same legal blood alcohol limits for boat operators as for drivers – 0.08 percent, or 0.02 percent for operators under 21.


Reckless Operation


A boat or watercraft operator can easily get carried away by the thrill of being on the water. Boat operators must remain calm and in control and follow all applicable navigation rules. Disregarding speed limits, no-wake zones, channel markers, or warning buoys may constitute reckless operation. Connecticut defines reckless operation of a boat or watercraft as failing to exercise the degree of care necessary to avoid endangering another person or their property.


Inadequate Lookout


Boat operators must keep a constant lookout for potential hazards on the water around them, including other vessels (and their movement), debris underneath the water, or diver/swimmer warning buoys. Operators who don’t stay aware of their surroundings put themselves at risk of a potentially catastrophic collision.


Inadequate Maintenance and Equipment Issues


Boat and watercraft owners must regularly inspect and maintain their craft to ensure equipment stays in good working order. The marine environment can put heavy wear and tear on boat and watercraft equipment, potentially leading to mechanical issues that can cause an accident, such as water intrusion, engine failure, or malfunctioning navigation lights.


Contact a Boating Accident Lawyer Today


After you’ve suffered injuries in a boating accident due to someone else’s careless actions, you deserve financial recovery for your losses. Contact the team at Holth & Kollman, LLC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how our firm can help you obtain compensation for your property damage, medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.