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Common causes of boating accidents and fatalities

At about this time each year, many residents across Wisconsin and beyond are prepping their boats to get back in the water. If you are among these excited mariners, safety is likely an utmost priority. The more knowledge and training you have when you get out on the water, the better your chances of a safe, enjoyable summer free from boating accidents.

While your own knowledge and experience will certainly help you and your passengers stay safe out on the water, it is important that you also learn from the experiences of others, so that you can work to avoid accidents that may result from the actions of someone or something else. According to AmericanBoating.org, there are certain factors that place you at a far higher risk of a boating accident.

Alcohol use

A factor in about 17 percent of all fatal boating accidents, alcohol and water simply do not mix. Drinking plays such a considerable role in boating accidents that it is the single largest identified contributor to fatal boating accidents today.

Insufficient operator instruction

If the person driving your boat is not properly trained, this, too, considerably raises your chance of a serious boating accident. In more than 70 percent of fatal boat accidents where a driver’s level of instruction was known, operators did not undergo adequate safety training before taking the boat’s controls.

Excessive speed

Just as speeding in a motor vehicle enhances your likelihood of having a serious accident and minimizes the chance you will be able to avoid obstacles in time, you can have the same dangerous problems if you go over recommended speed limits while controlling a boat.

Additional commonly cited contributing factors in fatal boating accidents include operator inattention, machinery failure and improper lookout. While you may take all proper precautions against these dangers, other people on the water may not. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a boating accident you believe resulted from another’s negligence, consider getting in contact with a lawyer. 

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