How Often Do Boat Accidents Occur?

According to data published by the Office of Auxiliary & Boating Safety, which is a division of the United States Coast Guard, approximately 4,064 recreational boating accidents occurred nationwide in 2014. These accidents resulted in 610 deaths and 2,678 injuries, costing about $39 million total in property damage. About 77% of these deaths occurred in situations where a boat operator had not received instruction in boating safety. Alcohol use was the leading factor in fatal boating accidents, resulting in 21% of all recreational boating fatalities in 2014.

The top five contributing causes for recreational boating accidents were:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use

Who is Liable in a Boating Accident?

If you have been injured in a boating accident on Lake Erie, or another lake in Ohio, it is important to demonstrate liability of the party that wronged you. The question that must be asked in this situation is, “Who is responsible?” Here are some of the parties that may be held responsible depending on the circumstances:

  • Boat operators - In most cases, the boat operator is the liable party of the crash. The boat operator was in control of the vessel during the time of the crash and is therefore responsible for obeying all laws and safety protocols.
  • Boat owners - If the accident was the result of an equipment failure or lack of maintenance, the owner of the vessel can be held liable for the injuries that ensue from the accident.
  • Boat manufacturer - The manufacturer of the boat may be held liable if there was a defect of the vessel that led to a crash or another type of damaging event.
  • Boat rental company - If the boat that was involved in the accident was rented out by a company, the rental company may be responsible for the damages associated with the accident. Even if an employee was not the boat captain, this may still be true.

If you or someone you love was involved in a boating or watercraft accident, call a Cleveland boat accident lawyer at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP today.