Last year, the Coast Guard recorded 4,158 boating accidents that resulted in 626 deaths, over 2600 injuries, and approximately $42 million dollars in property damage. New York is number three in the top five states with the most boating accidents. In an effort to prevent a boating accident, it is important to understand what causes them.

Despite all of the shark and pirate movies, more often than not, hazardous weather or a massive wave is not the most frequent cause for a boating accident. The following however are the 5 leading causes of boating accidents:


1. Operator inattention

The operator of the vessel should be constantly monitoring the boat, weather, and warning signs of dangers ahead.

2. Improper lookout

Many forget to assign a fellow boater to the lookout position, who can look out for dangers and threats.

3. Operator inexperience

The boat operator needs to be properly trained in boating basics as well as what to do in an emergency.

4. Excessive speed

We’re looking at you, my motorboat driver. While it is fun to feel the sea breeze against your face, speed limits should always be observed on the water just like on the road. The quicker you are traveling, the less reaction time. Remember, boats don’t have brakes.

5. Impairment of the operator

Alcohol is one of the deadliest factors in a boating accident. Just like on the road, it is important for the operator to always remain alert and focused.


Open motorboats lead the pack in the most dangerous type of sea vessels with 2,220 deaths and injuries per year. Personal water crafts like jet skis are second with 1,049 deaths and injuries reported each year. Following these vessels are much less dangerous water crafts with 336 deaths and injuries occurring on a cabin motorboat, 200 deaths and injuries from canoes and kayaks and 127 deaths and injuries occurring on pontoon boats.

With Labor Day just around the corner, many New Yorkers will travel to one of our many great lakes to enjoy the outdoors by going boating and celebrate summer coming to a close. Friends and family will get together for some laughs, maybe a couple of drinks, and have a great time. However, a great time can quickly turn fatal in the event of drunk driving on boats. 50% of boating accidents are alcohol-related. Imagine you are on a lake in a pontoon boat with your friends, drinking and having a good time, when suddenly a jet ski whizzes by. Alcohol slows your reaction time, easily making an end of the summer party turn deadly.

We described how you can help prevent a boating accident by following a series of boating tips in a previous blog. Please re-read these helpful tips before taking to the water for the remainder of the summer.

If you are involved in a boating accident, you need experienced boating accident lawyers like Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman. As New York State licensed boaters, we know maritime law and how to represent you to get you the compensation from your boating accident that you deserve. Contact The People’s Lawyer for a free consultation today.



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