Any injury that occurs on or with a boat, ship, ferry or jet ski is considered a boating accident. Today, our rivers, lakes and oceans are busier than ever with commercial vessels of all sizes carrying passengers, and transporting freight. This traffic combined with the increasing popularity of leisure boating often creates crowded waterways increasing the chances of accidents.In 2000, 701 deaths occurred while participating in boating activities within the 50 states, 5 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Usually boat accidents are caused by the negligence of the operator. Similar to the responsibility a car driver or bus driver has, the operator of a boat or vessel is required to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to others.
The following is a list of some of the most common causes of and factors contributing to death or injury while boating:
1) Collision, capsizing, flooding, or sinking – These can be the indirect result of a number of factors, including boating under the influence of alcohol; wind, rain, sun, or waves; or lack of experience in boating.
2) Accidents from boating activities – Boating activities such as water skiing can be dangerous when participants either fail to practice safety procedures or when they do not take into account water depth, obstacles, and proximity to shore.
3) Explosion or fire – Fuel is the most likely source of a boat fire. Explosions or fires often result from damage to or improper maintenance of the fuel system.
4) Electrocution – This typically occurs due to lightning or the vessel striking a power line. The danger posed by lightning is just one reason why it is imperative to avoid water under threat of storm. Power lines are primarily a concern during launch: if they are placed in the path of a launch ramp, they may be struck by an extension of the boat, such as the mast.