Winters can be long and dreary, filled with driving snow, black ice and sub-zero temperatures. During that time, it’s a safe bet that those who own boats likely dream of these warm summer months where they can take friends and family out on the water to get a break from the heat.
Unfortunately, those dreams can turn into a nightmare. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 658 deaths in 4,291 accidents involving recreational watercraft in 2017. The most, by a long shot, occurred in the month of July.
National July statistics
About 11 percent of accidents result in deaths:
- Number of fatal accidents: 114
- Number of non-fatal accidents: 956
- Total number of accidents: 1070
- Total number of deaths: 121
Pennsylvania’s annual statistics
Pennsylvania ranks among the safer states for boating fatalities and accidents:
- Total number of accidents: 69
- Number of fatal accidents:15
- Number of deaths:15
Boaters need to be careful out there
There are a number of reasons why there are boating accidents on the water. Some are commonplace ones similar to operating a motorized vehicle on dry land — these include alcohol use, operator inattention and driving too fast. Some circumstances unique to watercraft are falling overboard, drowning, capsizing, skier mishap and boat grounding.
July 4 particularly dangerous
The numbers jump around the July 4 holiday. While one of the best ways to see fireworks is from the water, a lot of other people have the same idea. This means it is one of the busiest boating days of the year.
As is also the case with folks on dry land, long days in the sun eating and drinking can lead to poor decisions. If you are injured or lost a loved one and suspect there is negligence on the part of the other party, it may be wise to consult an attorney with experience working with injury victims.