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Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Spring and summer are the perfect time to get out on the water—and thanks to New York’s plentiful waterways and coasts, many people will enjoy recreational boat rides.

Although boating can be relaxing and fun, there are still significant hazards. Here are some of the most common causes of boating accidents, and how you can avoid them:

  • Operator inexperience: Inclement weather, unsafe behavior from other boaters, obstructions and other issues can present challenges for inexperienced operators. Be sure to take a boating safety course to ensure you know how to handle these situations.
  • Inattention or improper lookout: Boat operators need to maintain constant vigilance at all times, and another person should act as a lookout for hazards. Both the operator and lookout should avoid using phones or becoming distracted by other people on the boat.
  • Speeding: Boats must be operated at a safe speed to ensure operators have enough reaction time to avoid dangers. Review state boat speeding laws before you get out on the water.
  • Substance use: Like driving, substance use and boat operation don’t mix. They can impair judgement and reaction time, which can be deadly. Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs while operating your vessel.
  • Weather, waves and wakes: Inclement weather and large wakes or waves can cause injuries and boats to capsize. Always pay attention to weather alerts, and avoid traveling close to other vessels.
  • Equipment failure: Boats must be properly maintained in order to operate correctly. Owners must keep their boat in good working condition before heading out on the water.

Depending on what caused the accident—whether defective equipment, negligent operation and maintenance or natural hazards—you may be able to recover damages for any injuries which occur. Talk to the seasoned accident attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP to find out whether you have an eligible cause of action.