Boating & Personal Watercraft Accidents

Approximately 3,000 people are injured and 600 people are killed in the United States every year in boating or personal watercraft accidents. When determining who was at fault in a boating accident, state law, federal law, and even maritime law may apply.

The state of Missouri requires Boating Education for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984, who will be operating a vessel on any Missouri lake. Under federal law, boating accidents must be reported by filing a Boating Accident Report (BAR) with the state boating authority. These reports must be made after any accident involving a boat or its equipment if a person:

  • Dies as a result of the boating accident
  • Requires emergency medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Disappears from the vessel

The most common primary contributing factors in boating accidents are:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Machinery failure
  • Alcohol use
  • Navigation rules violation
  • Force of wave/wake
  • Hazardous waters
  • Weather

Although only the sixth most common contributing factor in all boating accidents, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, involved in 16% of deaths. The leading causes of death in boating accidents are:

  • Drowning
  • Trauma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Hypothermia
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

Boating and personal watercraft accidents are among the most complex cases in personal injury law. Not only are there often multiple jurisdictions determining the law, but the fact that the accident occurred on the water complicates the gathering of evidence immensely. If you have been injured in a boating or personal watercraft accident, it is essential that you hire an experienced attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

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