Operator Error Leading Cause of Recreational Boating Accidents

A Wildwood, Mo. woman died May 25, 2012, as a result of a boating accident at the Lake of the Ozarks. Media reports that quote the Missouri Water Patrol indicate the boat she was on collided with a personal watercraft.

According to the latest statistics from the U. S. Coast Guard, there were almost 4,600 boating accidents nationwide in 2011, involving 758 deaths and causing approximately $52 million in property damage. And last year's fatality rate of 6.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels represents a 15 percent jump over the previous year. So it's apparent that boating accidents represent serious, even deadly, phenomena.

A further review of the Coast Guard's "Recreational Boating Statistics 2011" report shows that:

• Collision with another recreational vessel was the leading type of boating accident by far

• The number one contributing factor in recreational boating accidents was related to the operator: inattention, improper lookout, inexperience, and excessive speed

• Alcohol use was cited as the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents - about 16 percent of all fatal accidents

With the arrival of summer, more recreational boaters will hit the area's lakes and rivers. More boaters mean more accidents. And, as the Coast Guard's reporting clearly indicates, the negligent acts of operators is the primary cause of accidents involving injuries and deaths. Just like victims of trucking accidents or car accidents, victims of deadly boating accidents and their families have the legal right to be compensated for their damages and losses.


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