Safe Boating in CT

May 24, 2018
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Boating deaths in New England are on the rise! In 2016, boating fatalities increased by 62%  according to the Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics. Last year in Connecticut…

  • One person was killed and another injured when their pontoon boat was struck by a ski boat on Lake Zoar in July.
  • Also in July, the operator of a 22-foot vessel hit a buoy in New Haven killing one of two passengers on board.
  • Another New Haven boating accident involving a capsized vessel in the Long Island Sound resulted in the fatalities of both the operator and the passenger in August.

Recreational water sports are fun and exciting, but also extremely dangerous. With the summer season officially beginning this weekend, Connecticut residents should be well prepared for the dangers they could encounter on the water.

National Safe Boaters Week!

To promote safer boating activities across the country, the United States Coast Guard has named the week before Memorial Day National Safe Boaters Week. With over 70 million Americans participating in boating activities every year, there are more than enough opportunities for people to get involved in serious or fatal boating accidents. It’s critical that all Connecticut residents planning on participating in recreational boating activities be aware of the risks involved and the safety precautions to take before getting out on the water this season.

Top Reasons for Boating Fatalities

Not every boating accident occurs on a stormy night in treacherous weather. In fact, most fatalities happen during the day in ideal weather conditions! In 2016, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) reported reckless boating behaviors, along with sitting/standing on parts of the boat not meant for seating, were the two main causes of fatal boating accidents in the state. Other causes for boating accidents resulting in injuries included:

  • Operator Inattention
  • Operator Inexperience
  • Equipment Failure
  • Wake
  • Weather
  • Alcohol use


Boats With The Most Accidents

The type of boat you chose may increase your chances of being involved in an accident, but not in the way you might think. Though motorboats (both open and pontoon) were listed as the vessels with the highest rate of accidents in 2016, canoes and rowboats had the most fatal accidents. Non-motor vehicles can easily be capsized and hit by motorboats, so knowing how and where to operate these vessels properly is just as important as knowing how to drive boats with higher speeds.


Lifejacket Really Do Save Lives

Out of all the fatal boating accidents reported in the country, 80% of the victims died from drowning. More importantly, 83% of these individuals were not wearing lifejackets at the time of their accident. Too many boaters believe having a lifejacket on board is enough to protect them in the case of a boating emergency, but even the best swimmers may not be able to access the equipment in the event of a serious accident or capsized vessel.


How To Boat Safely

Connecticut boaters can do a lot to promote safe boating behaviors on the water and to avoid devastating boating accidents this season:

  • Get Certified: Connecticut waters are no place for amateurs. Boaters should be certified through approved boating safety courses or equivalent classes before operating any vessel.
  • Stay Sober: Alcohol can significantly increase the chances of a boating accident and the severeness of the injuries sustained. If you are operating a boat, stay sober. Don’t make the mistake of thinking water is not as dangerous as the road in a crash.
  • Remain Informed: Stay informed about every aspect of your boating experience before you set out for the day. Watch the weather, research the conditions of the body of water you’ve chosen, and never take a chance at operating a vessel you are not familiar with without proper training.
  • Spread Awareness: Don’t leave it up to others to boat safely. If you see someone being reckless on the waters, say something. Report the behavior to the local authorities responsible for keeping the water safe to ensure others do not get hurt.

What To Do After A Boating Accident

Boating accidents caused by operator negligence are no different than vehicle accidents caused by reckless drivers. If you’ve been in a boating accident…

  1. Seek medical attention: Always address your injuries first. Never delay medical treatment because you are gathering information for your case.
  2. Document the accident: Document all details of your accident including the vessels involved, to the cause of the accident, and the injuries sustained.
  3. Report the incident: Use the forms provided by DEEP to report a boating accident on Connecticut waters.
  4. Contact a lawyer:  Finding a personal injury lawyer who specializes in boating accidents can be extremely beneficial in ensuring you are compensated for injuries sustained at the hands of others.

Keep CT Boaters Safe

Don’t let the thrill of summer boating become an activity you regret. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury from a boating accident due to the negligence of someone else, contact our expert personal injury attorneys for support. Our experienced team at Jacobs & Wallace are dedicated to supporting victims of serious and fatal boating accidents. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can seek justice for you.

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