Considering that Ohio has 100 natural lakes as well as 61,000 miles of waterways throughout the state, it should come as no surprise that a number of people in the state choose to spend a lot of time on the water, especially during the summer.
While many Ohio boaters are skilled and understand how to follow safety precautions, boating accidents still occur. When these accidents occur, boaters are often seriously injured.
If you are injured in a boating accident, it is common to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to proceed. The following reviews some important considerations for boating safely in Ohio this summer.
How Often do Boating Accidents Occur?
The United States Coast Guard reports that approximately 4,604 boating accidents occurred in 2014, resulting in 610 deaths and 2,678 injuries. In 2017, the Coast Guard reported that there were 4,291 accidents resulting in 658 deaths and 2,629 injuries. Approximately a quarter of these boating accidents involved alcohol.
While the number of accidents appears to be on the decline, it is important for boaters to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious accidents, injuries, and deaths.
Boating Laws in Ohio
In the state of Ohio, there are a number of rules and regulations designed to reduce the risk of boating accidents. Some of the most important of these laws include:
- No individual under the age of 16 is permitted to operate a watercraft unless the individual is between the ages of 12 and 15 and supervised by an adult.
- Any person who was born on or after January 1, 1982 is required to successfully complete an approved boating education course before operating a vehicle with greater than 10 horsepower.
- All water vessels must have proper license and registration to operate on any waterway in Ohio. This information should be visible and appropriately placed on the vessel.
- A person is prohibited from operating or being in physical control of a vessel or operating waterskies or other devices while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These offenses are classified as a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in a six-month jail sentence as well as a fine of $150 for a first offense. Repeat offenses are penalized much more seriously.
Safety Steps to Avoid Being Harmed in Boating Accidents
Regardless of a boater’s experience, some boating safety practices can help avoid the risk of being involved in an accident. Some of these steps include:
- Always traveling at a safe speed
- Avoiding the boat’s engine and propeller while in the water
- Following a departure checklist before operating a boat
- Letting someone on land knowing where you are going and how long you will be gone
- Maintaining fresh air throughout the boat to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
- Not combining the operating of a boat with alcohol or drug use
- Remaining observant of potential obstacles in the water
- Staying up to date with the weather report and not boating in adverse weather conditions
- Taking a boating safety course if there is a certain skill that you need to improve
- Wearing a life jacket before departing
Common Types of Boat Accidents
No matter the kind of boating accident you have endured, an experienced boat accident attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve from the parties at fault. Some of the most common types of accidents include:
- Overboard accidents, which occur when passengers fall overboard. In conditions involving adverse weather conditions or people who do not know how to swim, these accidents often result in deaths due to drowning.
- Propeller accidents, which result in loss of limbs, lacerations, and internal organ injuries due to spinning blades.
- Run over accidents, which occur when nearby swimmers or nearby people who are in the water are run over by the vessel. These injuries include disfiguring scars, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and even fatalities.
- Slip and fall accidents. Even though boat operators are required to keep the surface of a vessel clean, not all do. Slip and fall accidents commonly occur when boat surfaces are not properly maintained, or debris clutters the area.
Speak with a Boat Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of someone’s negligence while boating, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of a boat accident attorney who is prepared to fight for the results you deserve. Contact Kruger and Hodges today to schedule a free initial consultation.