Many people who live or vacation near water own or rent boats. Although boating can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, especially in warm weather, it can also pose risks to everyone on the water. According to reports by the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2018, there were 4,145 recreational boating accidents that involved 633 deaths, 2,511 injuries, and approximately $46 million in damage to property. Any person who wishes to operate a watercraft in the U.S. Virgin Islands is required to complete a safety course. Despite this regulation, accidents can and do happen on the waterways. In some cases, the injuries can be life-threatening. That is why it is important to understand boating safety and what factors can lead to an accident.
Even if all safety precautions are taken, it is impossible to control the weather or the actions of other boaters. Similar to driving a vehicle, the operator and occupants of a boat must be alert and aware of possible dangers when on the water. Regardless of whether a boat is a small or large vessel, everyone on board must wear life jackets for their safety in the event that an accident or bad weather causes the boat to capsize. Severe winds and high waves can limit visibility and result in a boat taking on a lot of water.
The owner or boat rental company is responsible for ensuring that a watercraft is properly maintained and routinely checked for faulty machinery or parts. In addition, there are other potential distractions or hazards when aboard a boat which can lead to a crash. In many cases, collisions are the direct result of another boater’s negligent actions. For example, if a driver of a boat does not qualify for a license or is impaired after having too many drinks, he or she is putting other lives in danger.
Some of the most common reasons for a boating accident include the following:
Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI)
Treacherous waters/inclement weather
Typical Boating Injuries
The severity of injuries suffered in any type of boating accident can range from minor to fatal. A majority of the fatalities in cases involving watercraft occur due to a victim drowning. In some situations, a person who does not know how to swim can fall overboard, and other passengers may not able to rescue him or her in time.
Other kinds of injuries may be treatable, but some can also be debilitating, depending on the circumstances. A few of the typical injuries sustained in a boating accident include:
Broken or fractured bones
Spinal cord damage
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Lacerations or bruises
In many cases, these injuries take place when a person is thrown around the craft and slams into the side of the boat, collides with another passenger, or falls and hits his or her head.
Contact a St. Croix Personal Injury Attorney
Boating is a popular sport and recreational activity that is enjoyed by many residents of the islands as well as tourists who visit. However, collisions with other boats can and do happen, and they often result in serious injuries. If you or a loved one have been hurt on any type of watercraft, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Colianni & Colianni, LLC, our skilled U.S. Virgin Islands boating accident lawyers know the laws that pertain to personal injuries from boat mishaps. In some cases, a defective product manufacturer or another boater may be held liable for damages. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 340-719-1766.