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Booze and Boating: A Deadly Combination

In a 2019 article by Safety4Sea, alcohol continues to be the main contributing factor in fatal U.S. boating accidents. Nationwide, there were 633 boating fatalities in 2018, 19% caused by alcohol consumption. Before you set sail, take a look at the risks of boozing and boating.

Boating Statistics

According to the United States Coast Guard, there is no other single factor more responsible for fatalities on the water.

In 2018 alone:

  • Alcohol use led to just 254 accidents, 204 injuries, and 101 deaths
  • Operator inattention caused 654 accidents, 437 injuries, and 50 deaths
  • Improper lookout caused 440 accidents, 316 injuries, and 27 deaths

When we look at Pennsylvania boating numbers in 2018, 61 recreational boating accidents were reported, resulting in $206,784 worth of property damage. The most common form of an accident was capsizing with 17 total. Of the total accidents, 13 of them resulted in a casualty, with 14 individuals dead. Only three of the victims were wearing a life jacket.

The 2018 accidents resulting in fatalities occurred at the following recreational locations, some with multiple accidents in the year. These locations are:

  • Susquehanna River
  • Delaware River
  • Lackawanna Lake
  • Glendale Lake
  • Mountain Spring Lake
  • Susquehanna River, Lake Clarke
  • Quemahoning Reservoir 
  • Raystown Lake 
  • Allegheny River
  • Lehigh River

Operation Dry Water – Reducing Boating Accidents

A nationwide effort, Operation Dry Water is a boating under the influence campaign which aims to “to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water.”

The campaign supports heightened awareness and enforcement annually on the most known holiday for drinking and boating–the 4th of July weekend.

As part of their awareness campaign, Operation Dry Water provides resources and training to officers and boaters alike, to know the signs of intoxicated boating.

What makes the 4th of July so deadly to boaters?

Because of the increase in families taking to the water to celebrate the 4th of July, there is an increased risk of accidents during the summer holiday. In addition, you may be more likely to encounter inexperienced boaters, more alcohol consumption, and more boats on the water in general. 

But you can protect yourself and others this 4th of July from a deadly boating accident. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers the following tips to stay safe this 4th of July.

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Make sure the boat is operating properly and is equipped with necessary emergency supplies.
  • Do not drink and boat. Any passengers who are intoxicated should be taken to shore to avoid a mishap.
  • Stay alert to other boaters, swimmers, etc.
  • Have an emergency plan and let your passengers know what the plan is if an accident occurs.
  • Practice the three Cs: caution, courtesy, and common sense.

This 4th of July weekend, be prepared for anything and practice safe boating. But if you are involved in a boating accident, contact the personal injury attorneys you can trust.

Pennsylvania Boat Accident Lawyers Today

At Fellerman & Ciarimboli, we know that boating accidents can affect the life of a victim or the victim’s loved ones. Boating accidents can be complicated and difficult to prove fault. But we take our experience and put it to the test in the courtroom so you get the justice you deserve.

Contact our Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton boating accident lawyers now for a free consultation.

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With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.

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