What Kind of Accidents Can Happen on Boats?

April 25, 2022

Boating can be fun and relaxing, whether you enjoy boating on Louisiana’s lakes, rivers, bayous, or in the Gulf of Mexico. However, reckless or negligent behavior can result in boating accidents and serious injuries.

If you were injured or someone you love died in a boating accident caused by negligence, you might ‌be able to recover damages from the person responsible. Contact our Louisiana boat accident attorneys today if you’ve been involved in a boating accident.

What are the Most Common Boat Accidents?

According to the 2020 report of boating accidents from the U.S. Coast Guard, the top five types of boating accidents are:

  1. Collisions between recreational vessels: A collision occurs when any vessel collides, regardless of its operation‌. The highest fatality rates were among open motorboats, kayaks, and pontoons.
  1. Flooding/swamping: Regardless of how the water enters the boat, it can become filled with water while still remaining at least partially buoyant. Boats can flood because of defective mechanical parts, poor weight distribution from passengers, and weather conditions.
  1. Collision with a fixed object: This happens when a boat collides with an object in the water floating above or below the surface, such as a pier or buoy.
  1. Grounding: This when the boat runs aground on rocks, shoals, or reefs, damaging your boat and potentially injuring passengers.
  1. Falls overboard: A boat operator or passenger can fall overboard when the boat makes a sudden turn, is carrying too many passengers, or because of bad weather.

What are the Causes of Boat Accidents?

Several factors can lead to boat accidents and cause severe injuries to you and your loved ones. These factors include:

  • Operator inattention: The leading cause of boat accidents is when the operator doesn’t pay attention to their passengers, their surroundings, or other vessels. In 2020, operator inattention resulted in 383 injuries and 55 deaths in the U.S. Inattention can result in a collision with another vessel or with someone not in a boat, such as a paddleboarder or a swimmer.
  • Operator inexperience: Operator inexperience means not having enough hands-on experience or knowledge of the boat involved in the accident. In 2020, operator inexperience was the second leading cause of boating accidents, resulting in 343 injuries and 56 deaths.
  • Improper lookout: This means the operator did not appoint another person on the boat to look out for potential dangers, such as other boats or foul weather approaching from a direction the operator can’t see. It can also mean someone was appointed as lookout but didn’t take this duty seriously. This is the third leading cause of boating accidents in the United States, resulting in 578 accidents in 2020.
  • Excessive speed: Driving a boat over the speed limit can result in accidents or cause the boat to overturn. These accidents have a high injury rate, with 345 injuries occurring in 418 accidents in 2020.
  • Machinery failure: Poor maintenance or manufacturing defects could be the reason for faulty machinery or equipment. These failures resulted in 373 boating accidents in 2020.

Alcohol use was also a factor in 18% of fatal boating accidents. Just like it is illegal to drink and drive a car, it is also illegal to drink and drive a boat in Louisiana.

Your lawyer can help you determine what caused your accident and who should be held accountable.

What are Common Injuries from Boat Accidents?

An injury from a boat accident can be devastating, with high cost of medical bills and weeks or months of lost wages due to missed work. The U.S. Coast Guard reports some of the most common boat accident injuries are:

  • Lacerations and contusions
  • Broken bones and sprains
  • Head and spine injuries
  • Internal organ injury
  • Burns
  • Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

Since many people become injured every year by negligent boat operators who don’t have any boat safety experience or even think it’s fine to drink alcohol while operating a boat, it’s important to take legal action.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Boat Accidents?

Depending on the circumstances, it’s not always easy to determine liability in a boat accident. If a defective boat part caused the accident, the liability might fall on the manufacturer. The boat owner or the company that owns the boat may have failed to maintain the boat, resulting in the accident.

If the operator’s excessive speeding caused the accident because of intoxication, the operator can be held liable, and if a boat operator has above the blood-alcohol content of 0.08%, they can be charged with a BUI (boating under the influence).

Since liability is a complex process, you must work with an attorney specializing in boat accidents. A lawyer can evaluate your case, investigate the causes of the accident, and determine liability.

Book a Free Consultation with Our Louisiana Boating Accident Lawyers

When you or a loved one are injured in a boat accident, you can rely on the experienced Louisiana boat accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier. We work to understand your case and help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.

Our No Fee Guarantee means you don’t have to pay any fees until we win your case. To learn more about your legal options, contact our law office for a free consultation.