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Common Causes of Boating Accidents


The east coast has a long and revered maritime tradition, and many boat owners still enjoy the waterways throughout New York State. As with any craft or vehicle, boats can cause serious injury if appropriate precautions aren’t taken. Whether you take to the water for fun, for transportation, or for work, you should always arrive home safely. Here are some of the common causes of boating accidents, and what you can do to avoid them.

Negligent Operation

Many, many boating accidents are simply caused by negligent behavior. It is important that boat operators, crew, and passengers pay careful attention to their surroundings and actions when on the water, since conditions can change suddenly and small mistakes can have big consequences. You’ll also need to be quick thinking and decisive to avoid hazards, so it is critical to not only be watching for hazards but be ready to react. Use a lookout if conditions aren’t clear, and always have someone ready to take action and control the boat. Familiarize yourself with the sailing “rules of the road” and be sure to comply with them


Like cars, speeding in a boat can have deadly consequences. The faster you are traveling, the less time you will have to see problems and react to them accordingly. You may not be able to stop or navigate around the danger in time. Sudden motions or a collision could toss passengers and crew into the water or throw them around in the cabin. In the event of a sinking, passengers may become trapped or be knocked unconscious and drown. Operate your boat at a lesser speed, especially in crowded or poor conditions.

Inexperienced Operators

Skill is built with time and experience. Those who are learning to sail or who don’t operate a boat often may not have the experience to recognize potential hazards and take steps to avoid them. Navigation, maneuvering, and understanding water and weather conditions require judgment calls. More experienced sailors will know how to or when to avoid risky conditions, while novice boaters may not. Be sure to always check weather conditions before embarking, and gain plenty of time operating your boat with a more experienced sailor present to guide you.

Poor Weather Conditions

Thousands of professional sailors have been lost in storms throughout history. Bad weather and storms are one of the largest threats to boats and ships on the water. It can be easy to misjudge the approach of a storm or underestimate weather and water conditions, and a boat caught out in the open is in immediate danger of capsizing or sinking. Strong winds can affect your ability to safely navigate. The best way to protect yourself against poor weather is to check the weather reports and continue to monitor the weather station on the radio. It’s better to misjudge weather conditions as too bad than to make the mistake of thinking they aren’t bad.

Equipment Failure

There are many pieces of equipment on a boat, from a small sailboat to an expensive speedboat. From the hull of the boat itself to the navigation, steering, motor, radio, sheets, sails, winches, and other parts, you count on these pieces of equipment to keep you afloat, on track, and in communication with others. When an all-important piece of equipment fails it can leave you stranded, cause a sinking, or even cause a collision. Maintain your boat regularly and have it inspected and serviced as needed. For communication and navigation devices, it’s wise to always have back up options onboard as well.

Contact Our Brooklyn Boating Accident Lawyer - (888) 918-9890

If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligent actions, you should reach out to our team at Belushin Law Firm, P.C. We will help you claim the compensation you deserve, and we will advocate tirelessly for your rights. We know that you may be facing considerable difficulties during this time, but our experienced Brooklyn personal injury attorneys are here for you.

Schedule a free initial consultation to get started. Contact our office at (888) 918-9890.

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