Boating Accidents: An Underestimated Danger in Kansas

When vehicle accidents come to mind, we usually think of accidents that frequently happen on Kansas roadways. But what about the accidents that happen on our waters?

The Kansas City Star reported a tragic boating collision that killed three people and injured two others. The accident happened late at night and in an area of low population. One occupant was arrested on suspicion of operating a vessel while drunk, but evidence ruled out that individual. Law enforcement officers continue to investigate who caused the crash.

This is just one case in which negligence may have been a factor. In the event of a boating accident, it’s always best to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can launch an investigation and find out who was responsible.

How prevalent are boating accidents?

Nationwide statistics from U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division reveals that in 2016, July saw the highest number of boat accidents at a total of 728. Approximately 623 of those were non-fatal, while 129 were fatal. A total of 143 Americans lost their lives to boating accident in July of that year.

December had the lowest number of boating accidents at a total of 75, approximately 60 of which were non-fatal and 15 of which were fatal. A total of 18 people were killed in boating accidents during that month. Out of 4,463 boating accidents, 2016 had a total of 701 deaths.

While operating a vessel, a total of 2,600 accidents occurred, resulting in 1,908 injuries and 285 deaths. The majority of boating accidents occur while a vessel is in operation. The leading causes included:

  • Operator inattention: resulted in 597 accidents, 373 injuries and 45 deaths
  • Operator inexperience: resulted in 480 accidents, 301 injuries and 62 deaths
  • Improper lookout: resulted in 475 accidents, 380 injuries and 20 deaths
  • Excessive speed: resulted in 360 accidents, 275 injuries and 39 deaths
  • Alcohol use: resulted in 282 accidents, 264 injuries and 87 deaths
  • Other factors included: drug use, failure to vent, inadequate onboard navigation lights, navigation rules violation, restricted vision, sharp turns, and starting in gear.

Other factors included:

  • Loading of passengers or gear: resulted in 145 accidents, 94 injuries and 60 deaths. These accidents are caused by improper anchoring, improper loading, overloading passengers, or passengers on unsecured parts of a boat.
  • Failure of boat or equipment: resulted in 419 accidents, 149 injuries and 20 deaths.
  • Environment: resulted in 660 accidents, 381 injuries and 139 deaths. The leading factors included: congested waters, hazardous waters and waves, weather conditions, and navigation issues.
  • Other factors have resulted in 639 accidents, 371 injuries and 197 deaths. These included carbon monoxide exposure, ignition of fuel or vapor, sudden medical complications, and other unknown causes.

Local statistics

In 2016, Kansas had a total of 32 boating accidents, 17 of which resulted in non-fatal injuries, and seven of which resulted in fatal injuries. This only accounted for one percent of all boating accident-related deaths nationwide. Alcohol was a factor in six accidents, resulting in five injuries and two deaths.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering. An experienced Kansas personal injury lawyer will advocate for you. Contact us today and find out how we can help.