Last year, the U.S. Coast Guard investigated 4,158 accidents involving 2,613 injuries, 626 deaths and roughly $42 million in property damage to property from recreational boating accidents.
The fatality rate is on the rise, with an almost 2 percent increase from 2014 when 5.2 deaths occurred for every 100,000 registered recreational boats. While not all causes of death were determined, in those cases that were, 76 percent of the deaths were due to accidental drowning. When life jacket usage was noted, 85 percent of the fatalities occurred to those who weren’t wearing any.
Over 70 percent died on vessels where the one at the helm had not received any instruction on boating safety when that information was known and a mere 15 percent of the total fatalities on boats happened with operators who received nationally-approved certifcates in boating safety.
Propellers caused the deaths of at least one individual in 158 boating accidents last year, causing 27 fatalities and 150 injuries. Eighty percent of drowned boaters were in vessels that were under 21 feet long.
Below are the five main factors that contributed to boating accidents:
1. Operator inattention
2. Operator inexperience
3. Improper lookout
4. Machinery failure
5. Excessive speed
However, use of alcohol while boating remains the top contributing factor for fatal accidents out on the water. Last year alone, in just accidents where the primary causes were identified, alcohol usage topped the list as a primary factor in 17 percent of boating deaths.
If you or a family member get injured in a boating accident due to someone’s negligence, we can help you pursue civil litigation by filing a claim with the Tennessee courts.