Recreational boating is an enjoyable pastime not only off the coast of Texas but also in our state’s many lakes. Whether you travel to the Gulf of Mexico or enjoy a day on Lake Grapevine, Lake Lewisville, Joe Pool Lake, or another waterway in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can enjoy the benefits of boating.
Unfortunately, this pastime also comes with significant risks. In 2017, there were 4,291 recreational boat incidents in the United States that resulted in 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries, and about $46 million in property damage.
In Texas, 170 reported recreational boat incidents resulted in 63 deaths, 100 injuries, and about $1.3 million in property damage. Only California and Florida had more incidents than Texas, and only Florida had more recreational boating fatalities than Texas. Three states—California, Florida, and Maryland—ranked higher in the number of boating injuries than Texas.
How Boat Crashes Happen
Factors that lead to recreational boat incidents, injuries, and deaths are unique to each circumstance. However, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, the five most common reasons include:
- Operator distraction
- Failure to keep a proper lookout
- Inexperience with boating
- Machinery failure
- Operators under the influence of alcohol
Other contributing factors are failure to take boating safety courses; traveling at excessive speed; navigational errors; and other forms of negligence.
The types of incidents also vary, but often involve collisions with fixed objects or other vessels; flooding or swamping the boat; grounding the vessel; and falls overboard.
Serious Boat Crash Injuries
Injuries sustained in boat crashes may be slightly different than the kinds people suffer after car wrecks, but they're still serious:
- Broken bones
- Electric shocks
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
The top 5 causes of death in recreational boat incidents include:
- Cardiac Arrest
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
The U.S. Coast Guard reports a sad fact from 2017 statistical data: 76 percent of fatal boating crash victims drowned. Of those, more than 80 percent weren't wearing a life jacket.
How a Skilled Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Future
If you suffered a serious injury due to a recreational boater’s negligence, or if a loved one died as a result of this, you may have the right to recover damages.
An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the boat crash; help you through the recovery process; and hold the right people accountable for your injuries. If negligence is the cause, you deserve to make a full recovery for your past, current, and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our experienced boat injury lawyers and to learn more about your rights and potential recovery.