Summer Boating Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Missouri is one of the greatest states during the summer times because of how many different types of body of water the state has for 

Missouri is one of the greatest states during the summer times because of how many different types of bodies of water the state has for boating, relaxing, and going to for vacation. Going down to the Lake of the Ozarks and enjoying time on the water is something that makes Missouri summers unique. Unfortunately and far too often, alcohol is generally mixed with individuals operating boats on the water, which endangers everyone else who is also enjoying their summer days on the water. Boating accidents do happen in Missouri, and some end up being fatal. In 2017 there were 169 boating crashes in Missouri. Sixty-eight of those accidents caused injured in which 10 were fatal. That is down from 2016 where 14 were fatal and 17 in 2015. Boating accidents happen in Missouri at all times of the year but particularly in the months of April to September. See 2018 Boating and Drowning Statistics by the Missouri Highway Patrol here.

What Causes Boating Accidents?

The number one cause of boating accidents will always lead back to the operator of the boat, not paying attention. We hear all the time that there are distracted drivers out on the road, but this also happens on the water as well. Operator inattention could lead to a collision with another boat or jet ski, an individual who is tubing or water skiing, land, dock, etc. The operator is not the only person who should keep a proper lookout while the boat is operating as the individuals who are on the boat should help out as well to increase safety. Failure to maintain an appropriate lookout caused 28 accidents in 2017, which was tied for the second-highest with the inexperience of the operator. The highest cause of boating accidents was water conditions (i.e., rouch, chop, current, etc.). However, failure to keep a proper lookout and inattention combined for a total of 53 accidents in 2017, which would be number one if both categories were combined.

How to Prevent a Boating Accident

First, if you are the operator of a boat then please do not drink and operate. This is the same as drunk driving. It puts you and your passengers at risk but it puts others in harms way as well. If we don’t drink and drive then we shouldn’t drink and drive a boat. Impairment caused 18 accidents in 2018 but it probably is higher as the Missouri Highway Patrol has a category for “other” in their expansive list of reasons for boating accidents. Second, do not speed if you are operating a boat. Yes, there are speed limits on bodies of water closer to the shore as well as out in the lake depending on the number of boats on the water as well as how open the water is as well. If you speed you decrease the time you have to make a quick maneuver to avoid a collision and only increases your chances of being in an accident. Third, wear the proper safety equipment. Life jackets are not the most fashionable choice or even the fun choice to wear but they may save your life if you are in a boating accident and thrown into the water. 36 individuals died from unintentional drownings in 2017, not on private property. Fourth, make sure that if you are not driving the boat that you help the operator out in spotting safety hazards. Sometimes it is not the boat you are on that is ignoring safety tips so it is important to make sure that you are helping the operator out.

Personal Injury Claims

At Bautista LeRoy in Kansas City, our attorneys have successfully represented clients across the United States in connection with boating accidents. There is a considerable amount of time and resources that are necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve so you can continue moving forward with your lives.


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