Maritime Accidents: Statistics and Safety

Recreational boating, including personal watercrafts, is increasing as we head into summer. With these recreational activities comes the need for safety. The US Coast Guard (USCG) report for boating statistics in 2019 has counted 4,168 accidents that involved 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries, and approximately $55 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

CED Technologies has marine experts that investigate the origin and causation of maritime accidents, which is key in states like Florida, where there has been a recent increase in accidents. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s recently released report on 2020 boat accidents, Florida experienced an increase of 113 incidents in the last year, a 16% jump. There were 79 on-the-water fatalities, up by 14 in 2019.

The USCG ranks the following as the top five primary factors of recreational boating accidents in the US:

  1. Operator Inattention – Inattention includes anything that takes the operator’s eyes or hands away from steering the vessel. This includes texting, talking, posting on social media, sending emails, eating, or checking GPS. Check your charts and directions at the dock ahead of time. Learn to switch between the throttle and the wheel without looking down.
  2. Improper Lookout – Operators should assign a lookout – someone who has their eyes and ears on a swivel, listening and watching for interference. Every vessel should have a designated passenger who is constantly on the lookout for any circumstances and conditions that could risk a collision. If a lookout is not paying proper attention, this could lead to a boating accident.
  3. Operator inexperience – A boat can be difficult to operate and control, especially for an inexperienced operator. A boat operator without the proper skill or experience could lead to an accident. Knowledge of the nautical rules of the road and awareness of local unique conditions such as shoals, currents, and traffic density are all key to avoiding a dangerous incident.
  4. Excessive Speed – Regardless of how experienced an operator may be, it is crucial that all vessels maintain a safe speed at all times: it is very easy to lose control of a boat and cause an accident when moving at high speed.
  5. Alcohol Use – In many states, laws for drinking and operating a boat are similar to those associated with driving a car and drinking, regardless of whether or not the boat has a motor on it. It is a federal offense to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol slows down reaction times and impairs the decision-making process. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement, making it very dangerous to operate a boat after drinking.

CED Technologies employs a team of experts versed in maritime accident investigation. They have scientific approaches to investigating the various types of marine accidents. If you require assistance for an accident involving a personal watercraft or boat, contact us or submit a request online.