Home Accident Boating Accident (Overview: All You Need To Know)

Boating Accident (Overview: All You Need To Know)

What is a Boating Accident?

What should you know about boating accidents?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our boating knowledge!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Boating Accident Overview

Many use boats for pleasure and for work.

If a person is injured on a boat when used for pleasure, the liability rules are different than for an individual hurt while working on a boat.

A boat accident can happen at any time.

One of the most common places where boat accidents, personal injuries, or reportable incidents occur is on cruise ships or while cruising.

Boat accidents can also happen when the boat is docked (moored), changes direction, drifts, changes speed, at anchor, while being towed, during loading period or other.

Boating Accident News

Every year, there are thousands of individuals who lose their lives in boating accidents.

In the news, we hear about youngsters involved in serious or deadly boating accidents.

A boating fatality is devastating for the families of the victim.

You hear news about celebrities involved in some sort of accident on board a boat or vessel such as Kevin O’Leary’s accident.

Unfortunately, some of the accidents reported in the news may have been unavoidable.

However, a good portion of the accidents could have been avoided if the passengers or boat operator would have taken proper safety measures and precautions.

Boating Accident Statistics

According to the Boating Accident Statistical Report published by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, here are the top 10 states with the most number of boating accidents in the United States:

  • Florida: 607
  • California: 322
  • Texas: 204
  • North Carolina: 182
  • New York: 143
  • South Carolina: 130
  • Arizona: 129
  • Ohio: 126
  • Maryland: 122
  • Missouri: 122

This data comes from the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division based on a $2,000 damage threshold.

Many states, government bodies, commissions, or other agencies publish boating incidents so the public is made aware of injury information and recreational boating statistics.

First and foremost, the U.S. Coast Guard publishes its Boat Accident Statistics report on a yearly basis providing details about reported recreational boating accidents.

For example, the Missouri State Highway patrol publishes an Online Boat/Drowning Incident Report where you can even search in their database in regards to a particular boat incident.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission publishes a Boating Accident Statistical Report providing detailed information about boating accident reviews, reported boating accidents, fatality data, injury data, personal watercraft accidents, violation summary, trend analysis, and more.

There are many boating deaths per year that are quite simply avoidable!

What Is A Boating Accident

A boating accident is an accident involving the collision, breakdown, or failure of a boat such as a speedboat, personal watercraft, hovercraft, pontoon, sailboats, transportation boats, tug boats, and other vessels.

You may have different types of accidents involving a boat such as a vessel hitting an obstacle or entering into a collision with the dock.

Many use a boat for recreational purposes, pleasure, or for personal activities such as fishing, water sports, sailing, entertainment, or others.

When a person gets injured on a boat or the boat collides with something, we’ll refer to that as a “boating accident”.

Boating accidents can include slip and falls, collision with other boats or rocks, the sinking of a boat, drowning, or any other situation when a person is injured or property is damaged.

Here are some of the activities that may result in boat-related accidents:

  • Canoeing 
  • Kayaking
  • Waterskiing
  • Tubing
  • Scuba-diving
  • Water-skiing
  • Swimming
  • Speed boating 
  • Jet ski 

This is not an exhaustive list but represents boating-related activities that may result in accidents, injuries, or deaths.

Cause of Boating Accidents

Why do boat accidents happen?

What is the most common cause of a boat accident?

The most common cause of a boat accident are:

  • Boats colliding with one another
  • A boat enters into a collision with an obstacle like a rock or reef
  • A boat collides with the wake of another boat
  • A boat hits a wave
  • A boat colliding with the dock
  • The boat was operated under the effects of alcohol or drugs 
  • Distracted boat operator or passenger
  • Unexpected bad weather 
  • Mechanical malfunctions 
  • Inexperience 
  • Reckless driving 
  • Not wearing life jackets or following safety measures

Many accidents are avoidable.

For this reason, with basic safety precautions and diligence from everyone on board a vessel, you can help make your boating activity or duty safe and pleasurable.

Reporting A Boat Accident

A boat accident must be reported to the Coast Guard when it meets certain criteria, such as:

  • When someone dies or there are boating fatalities 
  • When someone is injured requiring treatment more than basic first aid treatments
  • When a person is missing or is believed to be injured or killed
  • There there is a total loss of the boat or vessel
  • When damages caused by an accident are above a certain monetary value like $2,000

These criteria are not cumulative.

In other words, you only need to meet one of the above requirements to have an legal obligation to report the boating accident to the U.S. Coast Guards.

Types of Boating Accidents

What are the different types of boating accidents?

There are many types of boating accidents leading to personal injury, property damage, or other.

To give you a few examples, here is a list we’ve compiled to give you a perspective of different types of accidents may happen on a boat:

  • Collision with another vessel 
  • Collision with a fixed object
  • Collision with an underwater object 
  • Collision with a floating object 
  • Falls overboard 
  • Fall on PWC
  • Fall in boat 
  • Flooding or swamping of the boat
  • Grounding of the boat
  • Capsizing 
  • Sinking 
  • Vessel wake damage 
  • Fire or explosion (fuel or non-fuel cause)
  • A person struck by skeg or prop
  • On engine start 
  • Propeller accidents
  • Run-over accidents
  • Overboard accidents
  • Drowning accidents
  • Slip and falls on a vessel
  • Crew member accidents 

Boating Laws

What are the laws that apply to a boat accident?

A boat wreck and boating accidents on a lake or river will most likely be subject to local and state laws.

The reason why local and state laws apply is mainly driven by the fact that the lake or river is within a specific state and subject to the laws of that state.

On the other hand, if your accident happens at sea, then you will fall under the maritime law (or admiralty law) jurisdiction.

Accidents at sea are subject to maritime laws as this is a federal law covering the entire coastal waters of the United States.

The maritime laws apply when the boat accident occurs at a location that does not belong to a specific state but rather to the entire country of the United States.

The state and federal laws are designed to provide compensation to individuals who suffer injuries onboard a boat due to negligence, breach of duty of care, or other grounds.

Boating Accident Lawyers

Boat accidents can get quite expensive when considering the damage to property and due to potential personal injuries that may ensue as a result.

There are lawyers and attorneys specializing in boat accidents, personal injury laws, maritime laws, or other relevant laws to support the victim of accidents in their journey to seek and obtain compensation from the at-fault party.

Some types of personal injuries suffered on a boat can be:

  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bone fractures 
  • Dismemberment 
  • Internal injuries 
  • Cuts
  • Burns 
  • Disfigurement 
  • Death 
  • Drowning 
  • Lacerations 
  • Whiplash 
  • Ligament injuries

Pleasure boating accidents are typically subject to state laws requiring that the plaintiff demonstrate (in most cases) the negligence of another or their failure to act with reasonable care.

A state may have comparative negligence or contributory negligence laws and based on that an injured boat operator can seek damages from another boat operator.

When maritime laws apply, you’ll typically be looking at The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (federal law covering injured employees while working on navigable waters) or The Jones Act (federal law regulating maritime commerce).

These are specialized areas of the law.

As such, if you are looking to file a lawsuit, seek compensation, or ask for damages, it’s important that you hire an attorney who has a good understanding of such laws and has dealt with similar cases in the past.


So, what is the meaning of a Boating Accident?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Boating Accident:

  • A boating accident occurs when a person is injured or property is damaged when using a boat, during activities involving a boat, or related to a boat
  • According to the US Coast Guard, when certain criteria is met, the boat accident must be reported (reportable boat accident)
  • Boat accidents involve many types of boats and vessels and can include speedboats, jet skis, sailboats, tug boats, transportation boats, pontoons, kayaks, or other
  • There are different types of accidents that may occur either involving the boat with another boat, a person on the boat, the boat with an object, or any other situation causing property damage or personal injury
  • Boat accident attorneys can be specialized in different types of boating laws, maritime laws, admiralty laws, or others and can provide legal advice to those who suffered injuries resulting from a boat accident
Boat accident injury 
Boat operator 
Boat wreck
Boating accident lawyer
Comparative negligence 
Contributory negligence
Dive boat accident 
Duty of care 
Maritime law
Maritime lawyer
Offshore accident lawyer
Reasonable care
Reckless operation 
Tug boat accident

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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