Three Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Boat accidents are not as common as car accidents, however, they can occur. Knowing what the causes of a boat accident are can help you to better avoid them. Here are three common reasons why boat accidents occur, and what you can do to prevent these being a reason you find yourself involved in a boat accident.

Inexperienced Boat Drivers

Florida law requires you to be over the age of 14, and if you were born on or after January 1, 1988, you have to pass a boating safety education class. These loose requirements mean that many boat operators lack experience and confidence when it comes to navigating waterways. If you lack experience, you can take additional boating safety education classes to ensure you have both the skill and experience needed to properly and efficiently operate a boat.


The use of alcohol is the single biggest cause of boating accidents, accounting for a third of recreational boating fatalities. Just like driving under the influence, drinking and operating a boat is illegal under federal law. As such, avoid drinking prior to and while boating, and report any boaters you think may be under the influence while you are boating to the proper authorities.
Drunk boat operators and passengers are also at increased risk for falling overboard and being unable to get the assistance they need. As such, it may be best just to avoid alcohol altogether while boating.

Equipment Failure

It’s your responsibility, as a boat owner, to perform routine maintenance checks to ensure everything is working before you take your boat out on the water. When boat owners fail to properly inspect vessels, their negligence can result in serious accidents. To ensure safe, worry-free boating, regularly check the engine, steering, rescue capacity, communication system, and navigational lights, if there’s a chance you’ll be out after dark. Keeping up with routine maintenance and having repairs made to your boat are the best ways to ensure equipment does not fail on your boat. If you’re not experienced with boat maintenance, take your vessel to a professional.

Inexperienced boat drivers, alcohol and equipment failure on a boat are three common reasons why boating accidents occur. Being an experienced boat driver, avoiding alcohol and ensuring your boat gets the repairs and maintenance it needs, can help you best avoid an accident this boating season.

If you have had a boat accident, contact Oldham & Smith to answer any of your legal questions.


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