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What are the Most Common types of Maritime Accidents?

As more people head to the water to get away from the sweltering summer heat, the potential for maritime accidents also increases.

These statistics come from the United States Coast Guard.

Five most common types of maritime accidents

1. A vessel collides with another vessel. There are approximately 1,329 vessel-to-vessel collisions each year. These maritime “crashes” are responsible for an average of 66 deaths and 953 injuries each year.

2. A vessel collides with a fixed object. Each year about 558 boats collide into a non-moving object. These types of accidents cause about 35 deaths and 389 injuries annually.

3. Water skier accidents. Water skiers are involved in around 492 accidents each year resulting in 11 deaths and 502 injuries.

4. Fall overboard. On average, 485 people fall overboard every year. While only the fourth most common type of maritime accident, these are the second deadliest (after capsizing, number 5). Almost half (208) of victims die and about 312 are injured.

5. Capsizing. Approximately 398 capsizings a year are responsible for about 204 deaths and 284 injuries.

Not surprisingly, most maritime accidents involve recreational watercraft rather than commercial vessels. Some accidents may involve both commercial and private vessels.

The top five most dangerous vessels:

1. Open motorboats: 2,220 casualties per year; 204 deaths by drowning; 104 deaths due to other causes; 1,886 injuries.

2. Personal watercraft: 1,049 casualties per year; 14 deaths by drowning; 53 deaths due to other causes; 982 injuries.

3. Cabin motorboats: 336 casualties per year; 33 deaths by drowning; 20 deaths due to other causes; 283 injuries.

4. Canoes/kayaks: 200 casualties per year; 97 deaths by drowning; 10 deaths due to other causes; 93 injuries.

5. Pontoon boats: 127 casualties per year; 12 deaths by drowning; 3 deaths due to other causes; 112 injuries.

Many of these boating accidents involve excessive speed or alcohol use.

Follow these safe boating tips to ensure smooth sailing for the rest of the summer.

  • Always check the local weather report before venturing out to sea.
  • Use life jackets and other safety equipment in appropriate manner and as required by law.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Follow posted signs and warnings.
  • Do not overload the boat with people or cargo.
  • Keep a working marine VHF radio on the boat.
  • Tell a person on land where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Never go boating alone.
  • Make sure the boat you are using is in good working condition and is not in need of repair before taking it out.
  • Stay alert. Many inexperienced boaters only go boating on holiday weekends

If you have been injured in a boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico or on the Mississippi River, it may be to your advantage to seek a Louisiana personal injury lawyer who specializes in maritime accidents. The laws at sea are different than the laws on land. A New Orleans maritime law attorney can make sure all your rights are protected. Contact The Young Firm at 866-715-3664 to learn more.

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