Boating is a pleasurable activity, but it can be dangerous if it is not done responsibly. According to Illinois’ latest recreational boating report, 81 boating accidents occurred in the state in 2020. Some of these accidents resulted from unpredictable situations like a change in the weather or a sudden medical condition that impaired the driver. However, most of the accidents could have been prevented, and boat drivers should know the most common causes of these accidents to avoid getting into one in the future.
Alcohol or drug use
The majority of the boating fatalities happened because drivers were under the influence of drugs and alcohol while boating. Ultimately, the only way to prevent these accidents is by only driving a boat while sober. Besides, driving a boat under the influence of drugs and alcohol is illegal, and it has its penalties and consequences.
Another common cause of boating accidents is careless operation and operation inexperience. In Illinois, the people who were born after January 1998 must have a valid Boating Safety Certificate to drive a boat powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower. This measure exists to prevent inexperienced drivers from boating, as they will need to pass a boating education course to get the certificate.
Cold water immersion
Getting into cold water (below 60 degrees F) is always dangerous. When a person falls into cold water, they can get a cold shock and inhale underwater. Cardiac arrests and loss of consciousness is also a possible response to cold water immersion. Boaters should know these risks and avoid driving a boat while the weather is unfavorable.
Force of wake
Wakes are the waves boats make as they pass by. Some boats can leave dangerous wakes behind, and if the driver does not slow down while moving through them, they could get into a severe accident. Drivers can also avoid wake accidents by not driving in congested areas.
Sometimes, boats can have failures that lead to accidents. For example, the boat’s lights could go out while the driver is boating at night. That is why drivers should always check their boat before departure and carry spare parts in case something stops working. Also, a driver should always verify the boat has enough fuel for their trip.
The more informed a driver is about these boating accidents, the more measures they can take to prevent them. It is essential to do this, as these accidents can hurt the drivers, the passengers and others. By driving responsibly, boaters can enjoy a fun ride without risks.