With the continuation of hot summer temperatures, the number of boats in Washington’s lakes, rivers, and reservoirs has increased dramatically. This is especially true due to the pandemic as well as an increase in the number of boats purchased over the last year.
While boating is generally considered a carefree recreational activity, danger lurks. According to the State of Washington Parks and Recreation Department, in 2017, 114 recreational boating accidents were reported to Washington State law enforcement that involved 14 deaths and one disappearance, totaling 15 deaths and 50 injuries, and approximately $1.28 million of damage to property. Operator inattention (23%), operation inexperience (15%), and alcohol and/or drug use (9%) are the top three primary causes of accidents when the cause is known. Collision with a recreational boat (39%), collision with a fixed object (8%), and flooding or swamping (8%) are the top three primary types of accidents when the cause is known.
All boat owners should purchase a boating liability policy
This type of insurance is separate from one’s auto insurance and homeowners insurance. Many people are unaware that if they don’t have a separate boating policy they are likely uninsured. If you are a boater and don’t have a separate boating liability policy, you may be uninsured for any liability arising from boating activities. Contact your insurance agent to get coverage to protect you.
Reduce your risk of boating accidents this summer by avoiding these 7 activities
Hitting a big wave or wake at excessive speed, navigating in heavy weather, causing individuals to fall overboard, making contact with propellers, operating at a high speed, failing to carry safety equipment on board, colliding with other boats or fixed objects, overcrowding and overloading the vessel all increase your risk of boating injuries. Pay attention and use caution both as a driver and passenger.
Boating cases are complex and difficult. The laws and rules vary depending on the body of water where the incident occurred and the type of boat involved in the incident. The lawyers at Abeyta Nelson have handled cases involving injuries and drownings due to boating accidents in Washington and throughout the western United States. If you or a family member has been injured in a boating incident, please contact us for a free consultation.
-blog written by attorney David Abeyta, Abeyta Nelson Injury Law