Alcohol Tops List of Factors in Fatal Boating Accidents

Alcohol played a contributing role in nearly 20 percent of fatal boating accidents in 2018. That’s the conclusion the US Coast Guard has come to after tallying up national boating accident numbers in their annual Recreational Boating Statistics Report. Alcohol was a leading factor in at least 19 percent of the boating accident fatalities in 2018, accounting for around 100 lives lost. When the cause of death could be noted, 77 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of that percentage, 84 percent of victims were not wearing life jackets at the time of their accident.

Other Contributing Factors

Alcohol wasn’t the only cause of boating accidents in 2018. Operator inattention, inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed all played a role in the fatal crashes that year. When boating instruction was noted, 74 percent of deaths happened on board boats where operators had not received any kind of formal training. The Coast Guard recommends boating safety courses for anyone getting out on the water.

Staying Safe at Sea

The statistics included in the report are scary, but they hit home an uncomfortable truth: drinking while boating is deadly. While many recreational boaters wouldn’t dream of drinking and driving their cars, they happily pilot their vessels with cold beers in their hands. It’s important to note that drinking while operating vessels is illegal, but many shrug off the rule as a suggestion instead of the law. If you’re planning to enjoy a boozy drink at sea this spring or summer, be sure someone sober is there to take over. Your life — and the lives of others — aren’t worth risking for a beer!

Schedule a Free Consultation Now

The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC is here to help you and your family. Richard Serpe has a Masters Degree (LLM) in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law and has obtained the highest ranking (Proctor) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States. Richard Serpe has years of experiences protecting the rights of the injured. If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may need an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Contact us for a free consultation 877-544-5323.