RECREATIONAL BOATING FATALITIES

The US Coast Guard just released its 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics revealing that 560 boating fatalities occurred that year.  While this represents the lowest number of boating fatalities on record, it is nevertheless a very sobering statistic.  No pun intended, as alcohol continues to represent the most significant known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.  It was listed as a leading factor in 17% of deaths.  Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and machinery failure rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.   Where the cause of death was known, 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned; of those drowning victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket.  Where boating instruction was known, 20% of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction.  The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents, were open motor boats, personal watercraft and cabin motor boats.  Obviously, motor powered craft are involved in the majority of recreational boating fatalities.  It would surprise and startle some to discover that the owner of a personal watercraft can potentially limit their liability to the value of the personal watercraft after the incident which in many cases could be little or nothing.

With this in mind, if you have suffered injury or a loved one or friend has suffered injury or death as a result of a boating accident, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable maritime attorney to advise you with regard to your rights and remedies.

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