Steps to Avoiding a Boat Accident

Unlike cars, it is a bit more difficult to maneuver a boat. A boat’s steering mechanism is not as responsive as that of most land-based vehicles. You cannot change directions as quickly as you can in a car or a motorcycle. Boats also do not immediately stop when you “step on the brakes.” Therefore, you need to be very prepared, cautious and alert when you skipper a boat in order to prevent a boat accident.

Boat accidents cause some of the most tragic deaths in the United States. There were more than five thousand boat accidents recorded in the whole country during the year 2007. These boat accidents caused around three thousand injuries. Boat accident damages reached up to fifty million US dollars. These figures should be enough to encourage boaters to educate themselves on how to avoid a boat accident.

But first, you need to know what a boat accident means. A boat accident refers to vessels that experience capsizing, grounding, flooding, swamping, sinking, fire or explosion, ski mishap, collision with another vessel, collision with a foreign object, striking a submerged object, etc. Of all the accident types enumerated, you must especially pay close attention to collision with another vessel. This is the number one thing to watch out for whenever you are on a motor boat. Collision with another vessel tops the list of the top five primary boat accidents. Compared to the other types of boat accidents, a collision with another vessel is more than two times more likely to happen than any other type of boat accident.

There are a number of primary contributing factors in a boat accident. First on the list is the careless or reckless operation of the vessel. The next is plain inattention. Other factors are inexperience, passenger behavior, excessive speed and the use of alcohol. Dealing with these primary contributing factors can greatly help you avoid a boat accident.

Knowing the primary contributing factors in a boat accident is the first step to avoid such accidents. If you can eliminate these factors, then you will be much safer. Of course, there are not a lot of things you can do about the weather and hazardous waters. You just have to tune in to weather reports and forecasts, and stay home or dock when the weather is tough. Most boat accidents, though, are preventable. They are usually caused by negligent actions of either the passengers or the skipper. According to the coast guard, human error accounts for more boat accidents than natural phenomena do.

Since careless or reckless operation of the vessel and inattention round up the top two primary contributing factors in a boat accident, you should strive to be cautious and careful all the time. Avoid alcohol as it lowers your reaction time and makes you reckless. Always keep your eyes open and watch out for any object or vessel near your craft. Control your speed. Do not move faster than you can react when something comes up. Finally, do not neglect proper education. Taking a boat safety course is the best thing that you can do to prevent many boat accidents.

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