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Fatal boating accident statistics show rise in 2016

With watersports and boats used as a common recreational activity in Miami and throughout Florida, it is essential that those who take part in the activity understand that there are certain risks involved with it. Unfortunately, some of these enjoyable trips out on boats end with a fatal accident. These happen for a variety of reasons and statistical studies attempt to delve deeply into them to prevent a recurrence. One new report from the U.S. Coast Guard says that there were more recreational boating fatalities in 2016 than in the past five years.

In 2016, there were 701 deaths on the water. This, in comparison to 626 in 2015, is a 12 percent increase. The number rose despite a greater focus on safety. The report also says that there was an increase in boat injuries with an 11.1 percent rise to 2,903 from 2,613. As for accidents, there was a rise to 4,463 from 4,158 which came to 7.3 percent.

When the reason for the death was known, 80 percent were drowning victims. 83 percent did not have a lifejacket on when they died. There is no law that states boaters should wear a lifejacket, but the Coast Guard advises people to wear them regardless of how experienced they are on the water. The highest number of accidents were on cabin motorboats, personal watercraft and motorboats. 77 percent of fatalities happened in situations where the operator of the boat had not gotten boating safety instructions.

For every 100,000 recreational vessels, there were 5.9 deaths. This was an increase from 2015 when it was 5.3 per 100,000 - an 11.3 percent rise. Alcohol was found to be a reason for a fatal boating accident in 15 percent of the deaths. The following five primary reasons for the fatalities were: inattention of the operator, speeding, machinery failure, improper lookout, and inexperience on the part of the operator.

With a fatal boating accident, the loss of a loved one can cause a litany of problems in a personal, emotional and financial way. Investigating the case is essential to knowing how it happened and pursuing compensation in a legal filing. Discussing the matter with an attorney who is knowledgeable about wrongful death cases can help with a lawsuit.

Source: patch.com, "Boating Fatalities Up 12 Percent Across US," Paul Scicchitano, May 31, 2017

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