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Why Do Most Boating Accidents Happen?

From its river and lakes to its state parks, Mississippi is filled with boating and water recreation opportunities. While these activities can provide an entire summer’s worth of family fun, devastating accidents happen when people neglect their responsibilities as boat owners and operators.

Mississippi Boating Accident Statistics

Every year, the United States Coast Guard publishes a Recreational Boating Statistics report. Here’s what they found in 2017.

  • Nationally, 4,291 boating accidents occurred, resulting in 2,629 injuries and 658 deaths.
  • In Mississippi, 34 boating accidents resulted in 6 deaths.
  • 76 percent of the time the victim drowned; and 84.5 percent of the time that person was not wearing a lifejacket.
  • Alcohol was found to be the primary cause of the accidents, resulting in 19 percent of the fatalities.
  • 81 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had not taken the required boating safety class.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Drug or Alcohol Impairment. While televisions shows may depict people sitting on boats, drinking beer, and fishing, alcohol is typically prohibited while on the water. Drug or alcohol impairment can negatively impact your judgment and make you completely forget about proper boat safety. Alcohol impairment is the leading cause of boating accidents.

Improper Lookout. As a boat operator, you’ll need to choose and reliable and attentive lookout. That person should be responsible for identifying hazards you may not see. When a lookout misses a threat, an accident may happen.

Machinery Failure. It’s crucial to properly maintain the condition of you boat. As a boat owner, you have the responsibility to confirm that your boat is in tiptop shape prior to heading out on the water. If you don’t, you could have issues with the engine, the propeller, or the integrity of the boat.

Operator Inattention. A boat operator should be aware of their surroundings at all times. They should be constantly monitoring their boat, the weather and water conditions, as well as their passengers. Distractions can lead to capsizing or passengers falling overboard.

Operator Inexperience. Mississippi requires any person born after June 30, 1980 to complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators approved boating safety course. If you neglect this training, you not only put yourself at risk for a citation and fine, but you endanger the wellbeing of yourself and your passengers.

Even if you’re a responsible boat owner and operator, other boaters may not be. If you’re in a boating accident that was caused by the negligence of another boater, our Biloxi, MS boating injury lawyer can help. Contact us today to get help with your claim.

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