Coast Guard Report Shows Spike in Boating Accident Fatalities in 2009

boat%20rope.jpgThe Coast Guard’s boating safety report for 2009 indicates an increase in deaths and injuries, although the overall number of boating accidents actually declined last year. Overall, there was a 3.81% increase in boating accident fatalities and a .81% increase in boating accident injuries last year. However, the number of boating accidents dropped by 1.23%.

In all, there were 4,730 recreational boating accidents in 2009, and these resulted in 736 deaths and 3,358 injuries. As for the causes of boating accidents, it should come as no surprise to any Indiana boating accident lawyer, that the primary factors continue to be operator attention and inexperience, excessive speeds, boating under the influence and insufficient lookout. The one common thing about these five factors is that all of them are related in some way to human error or inadequacy. Mechanical malfunction plays a very small role in the majority of boating accidents every year.

Many boating accidents can be avoided if there is an experienced boater at the controls. 86 percent of all fatal boating accidents in 2009 involved a boat whose operator had not received any boating instruction. Alcohol use was a major factor in boating accidents in 2009. It was cited as a factor in 16% of all boating accident-related deaths. Of the 736 fatalities last year, 75% drowned. Out of these drowning victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. Boaters often tend to be overconfident about their swimming abilities. Your swimming skills have nothing to do with your chances of surviving a fall overboard. During many boat accidents, the impact can be strong enough to knock a person out. A person who is unconscious and in the water, will not be able to swim.

In fact, according to the Coast Guard, the most important things that you could do to stay safe on the water is to take a boating training course, and wear a life jacket. It goes without saying that alcohol and boats don’t mix.