When the weather warms up, many people in Boone County head for the water and that means a busy time for rescuers. Just recently up at the Lake of the Ozarks, two people were injured in two separate boating accidents after the vessels they were in hit a large wake according to LakeExpo.com. Their injuries were described as moderate, but it is unclear what type of injuries they each suffered. It is also unknown whether the boat operators were cited for the accidents.
Boating accident statistics
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2012 there were 4,515 accidents involving boaters in the U.S. Furthermore, 3,000 injuries were reported and 651 people were killed. Other statistics involve the following:
- Drowning was the cause of death for the majority of boat accident fatalities.
- The majority of people who drowned were not wearing life vests.
- 17% of fatalities involved alcohol
- Top five contributing factors of boating accidents are: machinery failure, excessive speed, operator inexperience, operator inattention, and improper lookout.
- Majority of boating accidents involve boats under 21 feet.
- Number one type of accident was colliding with another vessel
In the past month, according to the Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, over a dozen people have been injured on the Lake of the Ozarks and at least two people died in boating accidents.
According to Missouri law anyone who is operating a boat in the state is required to carry a boating safety identification card. Boaters obtain this card if they: have passed an examination issued by the water patrol division, possess a valid master's, mate's operator's license from the U.S. Coast Guard, or completed an approved boating safety course. There are some exemptions for boaters who are in the state for a competition or who are in the military but boaters should check with the state to see if they qualify for an exemption.
While taking a safety training course is always a good idea, one way that people can avoid drowning if they fall off of a boat is to wear a life jacket according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The life jacket should be fitted to that person to make sure that it works properly. If a life jacket is not worn, the person or child should be using personal floatation devices. In addition, boaters should avoid drinking alcohol, especially because it is illegal to drive a boat while impaired, and have their vehicles regularly checked and maintained to prevent mechanical failure or carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you have been injured because of the actions of a reckless boater, you should meet with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in your area to learn what your rights are.