Many people are injured in boating accidents every year through no fault of there own. Often times these accidents occur due to operator inexperience, operator inattention, operator intoxication, speeding or even faulty equipment. If you have been injured as the result of a boating accident and it wasn’t your fault, you need to find a lawyer that will help you get the compensation you deserve.

Boating Statistics:

When trying to frame the circumstances of your accident, it might help to know some of the common statistics involved in boating accidents every year.

On average, there are appx 700 reported boating deaths every year in the United States. Furthermore, there are appx 4,500 accidents reported every year. Interestingly, it is believed that only 10-15% of all incidences are properly filed.

Property damage involved with these events is disproportionately large when compared to more common land accidents. In 2008 there was an estimated $54 million dollars in damage across the country. For some more interested stats, consider those compiled on

  • Over two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, ninety (90) percent were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Only ten percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • Seven out of every ten boaters who drowned were using boats less than 21 feet in length.
  • Careless/reckless operation, operator inattention, no proper lookout, operator inexperience and passenger/skier behavior rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 17% of the deaths.
  • The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (43%), personal watercraft (23%), and cabin motorboats (15%).
  • The 12,692,892 boats registered by the states in 2008 represent a 1.4% decrease from last year when 12,875,568 boats were registered.”

Types of Boating Accidents:

It was touched upon in the statistics section, but let’s list some of the most common types of accidents to determine if your situation falls into one of these criteria.

  • Boat Collision. Quite simply this entails two or more boats striking each other. However, collision can happen in a variety of places, including crowded docks, narrow passageways, and on the open sea.
  • Object Collision. Similar to boat collisions but with objects either at dock or in the open water. Object collision can be the fault of the boat operator, or can be caused by negligent/innapropriate placement objects by other boaters or water officials. Examples include loose bouyees, inner tubes, boat parts, etc.
  • Water Skier/Tuber Incident. Water skiing can be extremely exhilirating, but it also has inherent risks. If you went on a skiing or tubing trip and you believe injury occured due to faulty equipment or driver negligence, you may have a case.
  • Driver Error. Many accidents occur due to negligence, intoxication, or lack of education of the boat driver.
  • Boat Capsizing/Equipment Failure. A surprisingly small number of accidents occur as a result of equipment failure. However, negligence and lack of proper preperation can cause this to be an issue.
  • Cruise Liner Incident. Cruise liners offer a whole different set of circumstances than normal watercraft. All manner of injuries can be sustained on a cruise liner, and if you believe it was caused by the crew or poor conditions, you may be able to pursue the situation legally.
  • General Intoxication. Whether it be via the driver, passengers, crew, or whatever, intoxication is a leading cause of drowning and injury on boats.

Filing a Boating Accident Report

Something that goes hand-in-hand with boating accidents is the BAR, or boating accident report. Most boaters are made aware of the federal and state rules regarding accident filing when going through boater safety training. However, when an accident occurs that you believe might require legal involvement, it is important to understand the rules more thoroughly.

According to, a BAR must be filed when:

1. A person dies; or
2. A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid, i.e. treatment at a medical facility or by a medical professional other than at the accident scene; or
3. Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more or there is a complete loss of any vessel; or
4. A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury.

If you experience a boating accident where one or more of these criteria have been met, you must file a BAR within 48 hours if:

1. A person dies within 24 hours of the occurrence; or
2. A person requires medical treatment beyond first aid; or
3. A person disappears from the vessel.

You have 10 days to file a BAR if the damage only involves the vessel and/or property. Be aware that these are the minimum requirements for federal regulation of BARs and individual states may have stricter reporting requirements.”

Some accidents are quite simple and only involve you as the boater or passenger. However, if it involves multiple parties or a need for compensation from an external source, it is important to get in contact with a professional boating accident attorney even before you start this process. They will be able to give you proper advice and keep you from sabotaging your own case.

We Can Help:

For almost 30 years I have been helping clients find reputable, experienced high-powered attorneys in their area who are tailor fit to their needs. If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, please contact us online or call 1-800-603-6833 to see what your next legal steps are. All consultations are free of charge and will be answered as soon as possible.

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