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What are some of the most common boating hazards?

There is no better time than the summer for families in Montana to enjoy boating along any of the state’s beautiful lakeshores. While this activity can be fun and create lifelong memories, you and your loved ones may also face numerous dangers. Boating accidents are a major cause of injuries and fatalities across the country.

A report conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard illustrated the often-overlooked prevalence of boating accidents in the United States. Last year, there were 2,678 boating-related injuries and 610 deaths throughout the United States. Boating fatalities rose by 8.9 percent and injuries by 2.2 percent from the previous year. There were 14 boating accidents reported in Montana in 2014, three of which were fatal.

A variety of common hazards contribute to the majority of boating accidents. These include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Operator not paying attention or inexperience
  • Improper lookout
  • Speeding

Alcohol-inhibited boaters were said to have caused 21 percent of boating accident fatalities when the cause of an accident was known. Certain types of watercraft are also more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. Open motorboats made up 47 percent of reported accidents in 2014, followed by canoes and kayaks.

Despite your best precautions, you or a family member may be involved in a boating accident due to another’s negligence. There can be no replacing the tragic loss of a loved one, but holding the at-fault party liable may bring a sense of closure. The information in this blog is not meant to be taken as legal advice, but may help you prepare for the dangers you might face on the water.

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