As the “Ocean State,” recreational boating accidents occur frequently in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is also home to many commercial fishing ventures. Boating accidents may occur on lakes, the bay, or out on the ocean. While some boating mishaps are minor, others result in drowning or serious injuries.
Recovering from serious boat accident injuries can be difficult. While specific circumstances may vary, mounting medical bills, physical pain, and emotional trauma can all be devastating. The personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush provide each client with the personal attention they need and deserve, ensuring that our clients obtain compensation and negligent parties are held accountable. Our RI personal injury firm is dedicated to achieving exceptional legal results, as well as to the pursuit of social, economic, and personal justice.
Boating Accident Statistics
Approximately 4,064 boating accidents occurred in 2010, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. These accidents resulted in 672 deaths and 3,153 injuries, and caused $35.5 million in property damage. On average, nearly six people (5.6) per 100,000 registered boats and other water crafts died as a result of these accidents.
Three-fourths (75%) of boating accident deaths in 2010 were caused by drowning. According to the Coast Guard, 88% of those who drowned as a result of boating accidents in 2010 were not wearing life jackets when the accident occurred.
Drownings are more likely to occur on smaller vessels. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that 80 percent of drownings occurred on vessels less than 21 feet in length. This category includes most smaller vessels, including jet skis.
Common Causes of Rhode Island Boat Accidents
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the top five most common causes of boating accidents are:
- alcohol use,
- operator distraction or inattention,
- failure to keep a proper lookout,
- operator inexperience, and
- excessive speed.
Alcohol use was the leading cause of the crash in 19% of accidents in 2010. Open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats were most likely to be involved in these types of accidents.
Collisions between two boats were the leading cause of injuries in 2010, and were the third leading cause of deaths, after boats capsizing, flooding, or swamping. Collisions between boats and fixed objects like docks also caused a substantial number of deaths and injuries in 2010.
Rhode Island Boating Safety Law Requirements
Rhode Island law requires young boaters and anyone who uses jet skis or similar recreational vessels to take a mandatory boating safety class. The course covers many topics including the proper use of life jackets and other personal flotation devices (PFDs) (Section 46-22-98).
Boating safety classes and education can literally mean the difference between life and death. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that only 6% of boating accident deaths in 2010 occurred on boats where at least one person had been trained in boating safety.
Contact Our Boating Accident Attorney
At Marasco & Nesselbush, our experienced Rhode Island personal injury attorneys are dedicated to achieving exceptional legal results for each client. We make it our priority to ensure that our clients can focus on healing while we establish strong cases to hold negligent parties liable. To learn how we can help you after an injury, please fill out a free case evaluation form on this website, or call us today at 855-505-1092 for a free initial consultation. We have offices conveniently located in Warwick, Wakefield, Woonsocket, and Providence and are here to help you.