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Top 3 Causes of Boating Accidents

As summer reaches its zenith, Texans across the state flock to the warm beaches and waters of the Gulf of Mexico. For some, the southward journey is just too much. Instead, they turn to more immediate sources of water-related activities: lakes. Texas is spotted with these freshwater deposits, big and small, shallow and deep, and many hold summer lake vacations as a deep-rooted tradition. Each year, thousands upon thousands of Texans enjoy spending a day at the lake.

And what is the lake without a boat? Boats are by far the vehicle used most frequently on the lake, from the smallest sailboats, the million-dollar yachts, and the wildest party barges. Boating activities varies from a relaxing afternoon of fishing to a high-speed session of wake boarding. As with vehicles, the increased amount of traffic on the lake means accidents are bound to happen. Below are three of the most common causes of boating accidents.

#1: Operator Inexperience

Automobiles are an integral part of society. At the very least, most people in the workforce are required to operate vehicles to get to and from work. Consequently,  people grasp general safety guidelines with vehicles and have some experience operating them. The same cannot be said of boats, which are widely perceived as leisure vehicles. Many people mistakenly assume that you can hop on a boat and drive it like any other vehicle, regardless of past experience.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Boats have their own set of specific safety guidelines that should be followed while operating the watercraft at all times. The Arizona Game and Fishing Department (AZGFD) cites that operator inexperience in controlling watercraft is the leading cause of boating accidents.

#2: Operator Recklessness

Boat drivers may very well know and understand the safety guidelines of operating their watercraft, but simply choose to ignore them. Similar to driving recklessly in a vehicle, what constitutes watercraft recklessness can be vague at times. At its core, however, police boats may pull over a driver if he or she is intentionally driving the boat in a way that threatens the safety of others. Examples include speeding in a low-wake zone or driving while intoxicated.

#3: Passenger Recklessness

The AZGFD lists passenger recklessness as the third leading cause in boating accidents. The boat operator is responsible in ensuring that his or her passengers remain safe throughout the entire trip. Indeed, a police boat can pull a boat over for reckless passenger behavior, but the driver will still get the ticket. What are some examples of this? Moving about while the watercraft is in motion, climbing in inappropriate areas, and jumping at dangerous times are some things that constitute reckless passenger behavior.

It is imperative to remember these causes and safety guidelines when boarding a boat,  for both the passenger and the driver. Contrary to what some might believe, boating accidents are no joke, and often result in serious injury or death.

If you have been a recent victim in an accident and are wondering what to do next, contact Colley & Colley. Our experienced attorneys will examine your circumstances, guide you through your options, and defend your rights. Get started and contact Colley & Colley today.