Articles Posted in Recreational Boating Accidents

8-15-2013 cruise-ships-at-grand-turk-1106432-mThe three largest cruise lines based in the United States, Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line, began posting data related to shipboard crime earlier this month.  The decision to post the data was announced last month and data was posted on August 1.  Disney Cruise Line followed suit but did not reveal its decision until after the data was already posted on its website.  The data reveals many more crimes were reported on cruise vessels than had previously been made public.  Although the companies began disclosing crime statistics voluntarily, the disclosures were made amid growing pressure from Congress and crime victims for more transparency related to crime at sea. 

Although the newly disclosed data provides a new window into statistics for crime at sea, Carnival Corp. reported only the statistics for their North American-based lines (Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Seabourn Cruises).  Carnival Corp. did not disclose data for its other cruise lines: Aida Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruceros, and P&O Cruises.  The data posted by Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line is for vessels worldwide.

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According to the Associated Press, a man died in a recreational boating accident on Sprague Lake outside of Spokane, Washington on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.  A female passenger in the power boat was taken to a Spokane-area hospital, but her condition was not immediately known.  The sheriff’s office reported that the two were in a power boat but the boat had not been located at this early stage in the investigation.

As we begin recreational boating season in Washington, it is important to review basic boating safety rules with your family.  Although the cause of this incident is unknown, many recreational boating incidents are caused by alcohol, inattention, unsafe speeds on the water, failure to have a proper lookout, and the failure to wear life jackets.  Before leaving the dock, make certain that you have enough life jackets for your passengers.  Don’t drink alcohol while operating a recreational boat.  Alcohol is known to impair judgment and dramatically increase the risk of boating accidents.  In the state of Washington, it is illegal to operate a recreational boat with more than a .08 blood-alcohol level.

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According to a report by the U.S. Coast Guard, recreational boating deaths decreased from 758 in 2011 to 651 in 2012, a decrease of over 14 percent.  Injuries from boating accidents also decreased from 3,081 in 2011 to 3,000 in 2012, a decrease of 2.6 percent.  The overall fatality rate for 2012 was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, which was a 12.9 percent decrease from 2011.

Despite the decrease in recreational boating accidents, a number of common safety issues continue to lead to most injuries and deaths.  Alcohol remains a contributing factor in many accidents.  The U.S. Coast Guard reported alcohol was a contributing factor in 17 percent of deaths.  Operator inattention, inexperience, machinery failure, excessive speed, and improper lookout ranked as the top five contributing factors in recreational boating deaths. Nearly 71 percent of the recreational boating deaths involved drowning of victims and 84 percent of the victims were not wearing life jackets.

As recreational boating season approaches this year, it is important to remember basic boating safety rules to keep your family and friends safe out on the water.  You should not drink alcohol while operating a recreational boat and should make certain that passengers are not intoxicated.  Everyone on the vessel should wear a life jacket.  Before backing a vessel, you should make certain that the swim platform and the area behind the boat is clear of passengers and objects.  Keep a proper lookout while the vessel is moving and don’t exceed a safe speed for the conditions.  Although operating a recreational boat is fun, it can also be dangerous and operators need to constantly be vigilant of important safety rules to prevent injuries and deaths to passengers, swimmers, and other people using the water.

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