Common Causes of Boating Accidents in Missouri

Missouri’s beautiful lakes and rivers offer boaters a chance to relax, unwind, and enjoy the great outdoors in our beautiful state. However, as with any recreational activity, boating comes with specific risks that could lead to life-altering or life-threatening injuries. Understanding the most common causes of boating accidents can help you stay safe and avoid accidents.

Some of the most common causes of boating accidents in the Show-Me state include:

Operator Inattention

Operator inattention is one of the primary causes of boating accidents. Just as driving a car demands focus and vigilance, operating a boat necessitates the same. Distractions like cell phones, engaging in conversations with passengers, or simply admiring the scenery can divert boaters’ attention from safe operation of the watercraft. Ignoring their surroundings, a boat operator risks overlooking critical signs of danger such as shifts in weather conditions, the presence of other boats, or submerged obstacles.

Excessive Speed

Speeding is another major contributor to boating accidents. Boat operators may need to pay more attention to the time and distance needed to safely stop or maneuver their craft, especially when traveling at high speeds. Excessive speed can also make navigating other boats, swimmers, or obstacles harder. Additionally, the wake created by a speeding boat can damage other vessels or capsize smaller boats.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption is a major factor in many boating accidents. Just like driving under the influence, boating while intoxicated is illegal and extremely dangerous. Alcohol impairs judgment, reaction time, and coordination – all critical skills to operate a boat safely. Boaters under the influence may engage in reckless behavior, such as speeding or navigating unsafe waters, putting themselves and others at risk.

Equipment Failure

Equipment failure can also cause boating accidents. Like any other machine, boats require regular maintenance and upkeep to function safely. Failing to properly maintain a boat’s engine, steering system, or other critical components can cause malfunctions while on the water. Additionally, using outdated or inadequate safety equipment, such as life jackets or fire extinguishers, can put boaters at risk in an emergency.

Hazardous Weather Conditions

Missouri’s weather can change rapidly, and boaters must always prepare for sudden weather shifts. Strong winds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms can create treacherous conditions on the water, making it difficult to control a boat. This increases the risk of capsizing. Boaters who need to check weather forecasts or heed warnings from local authorities may be caught in dangerous situations.

Failure to Follow Navigation Rules

Boating accidents can also occur when operators fail to follow established navigation rules. These rules exist to keep boaters safe and prevent collisions. When boat operators disregard these rules, they risk serious harm to themselves and others.

Preventing Boating Accidents

According to boat-ed, despite the availability of lifejackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) on pleasure crafts, 90% of boating-related drowning victims were not wearing these essential safety devices. While it’s impossible to eliminate all risks associated with boating, there are steps you can take to minimize accident chances:

  • Always wear a life jacket and ensure that all passengers do the same
  • Take a boating safety course to learn proper techniques and navigation rules
  • Avoid alcohol or drug consumption while boating
  • Maintain your boat regularly and use appropriate safety equipment
  • Check weather forecasts before heading out and be prepared to change plans if conditions deteriorate
  • Stay alert and avoid distractions while boating
  • Follow all navigation rules and respect other boaters on the water

If a boating accident injured you or a loved one, it’s essential to hire a personal injury attorney with specific experience handling boating accident claims. The Missouri boating accident injury lawyers at The Wilbers Law Firm LLC have helped others injured in boat accidents seek the fair compensation they deserve, and we’ll be ready to put our skills to work for you. Our consultations are always 100% free, so contact us today online or at 1-314-721-3040 to discuss your case.