Alcohol use is the main cause of boating accidents resulting in death. In 2018, 101 deaths were attributed to fatalities in boating accidents where alcohol was involved, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. While operator inattention is the most common cause of all boating accidents, 101 out of 633 boating deaths were as a result of alcohol use.
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Alcohol and Boating Accidents
Alcohol continues to be a leading factor in fatal boating accidents. Eliminating alcohol consumption while operating a boat could lead to hundreds of fewer accidents and deaths each year. Alcohol use not only affects the probability of getting into a boating accident, but it can also decrease the chance of survival once an accident does happen. When people are intoxicated, they lack the rational skills needed to make quick life-saving decisions, or have the physical ability to swim or get themselves to safety.
Negligence Is a Common Theme in Boating Accidents
While alcohol is attributed to the main cause of boating accidents resulting in death, operator inattention is the reason for most accidents. Additionally, almost all boating accidents are preventable. For example, improper lookout caused 440 accidents, operator inexperience caused 387 accidents, and excessive speed caused 276 accidents. Overall, there were 4,145 boating accidents in 2018, 2,511 injuries and 633 deaths in 2018, most of which could have been preventable through increased operator attention and safety.
Proving Negligence in a Boating Accident
If you were involved in a boating accident due to someone operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or being negligent in any way, you may have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. In order to prove negligence in a boating accident, you must prove the following elements:
- Duty: A boat operator always has a duty to operate their boat or vessel in a safe manner.
- Breach of Duty: If the operator of a boat or vessel behaves negligently or recklessly by being inattentive or operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will have breached that duty.
- Causation: If you were injured, you must be able to prove that your injuries were suffered as a direct result of the boat operator’s negligence.
- Losses: You must have suffered actual physical, emotional, or financial losses in order to receive compensation under a personal injury claim.
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Contact a Boating Accident Attorney
If you were involved in a boating accident that involved alcohol use or any kind of negligent behavior, and were injured in any way, you should seek immediate medical attention. If someone you loved died due to a boating accident caused by alcohol use, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.