Recreational boating is a fun way to spend the summer months and can provide hours of entertainment for you and your family. As Mississippi injury attorneys, we recognize boating accidents are common in any area where there exists recreational or work-related boating. The US Department of Homeland Security and US Coast Guard produced a report in 2010 of the major statistics surrounding boating accidents. These statistics can shed some light on the incidence of boating accidents as well as the major cause of death in a boating accident.
- In 2010, the fatality rate was 5.4 deaths/100,000 registered vessels
- Almost ¾ of all fatal boating accident victims drowned and of those, 88% were not reported as wearing a life jacket.
- Only 9% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction
- Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents
- The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were:
- Motorboats (46%)
- Personal watercraft (20%)
- Cabin motorboats (14%)
More information and additional statistics from this study can be found here.
Boating accidents often include capsizing, falling overboard, collision with another vehicle or structure, fire, and sinking or flooding. In addition to motorboat accidents, injuries are quite common as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, and other kinds of water sports. One of the best ways to avoid a boating accident is to take one of the Coast Guard’s safety courses. Operators and passengers in boats should always observe boating safety rules and courtesies. In Mississippi, it is a misdemeanor crime to operate a boat under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
It is important that you always take steps to protect yourself while operating or riding on a boat. The Recreational Boating Industry suggests the following steps should be taken to remain safe while on a boat:
- Check local weather reports before departing
- Follow a pre-departure checklist
- Use common sense: Always operate the boat at a safe speed, avoid crowded areas if possible, steer clear of large vessels and be respectful of safety buoys.
- Designate an assistant captain who is familiar with all of the safety procedures on the boat
- Always wear a life jacket and make sure that all passengers are informed of the life jacket procedure.
- Never drink alcohol and operate a boat
- Consider taking a boating safety course every few years to brush up on your knowledge.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident in Mississippi, please contact our boating accidents attorney at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today for a complementary consultation. We are here to help you with all of your legal needs.