With warmer weather on the way, more Ohioans will head out to enjoy the state’s numerous lakes and rivers. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 16 people were killed in boating accidents last year, down from 19 in 2021. Even more are injured each year.
When you’re out on the water, following safety protocol is the key to preventing serious injuries and fatalities. Here’s how to stay safe and what to do if an accident occurs.
Common causes of boating accidents
While some accident causes are unpredictable, such as hidden obstructions or sudden inclement weather, many are caused by human error:
- Inexperience: If you’re operating a vessel with more than 10 horsepower, you must take one of Ohio’s mandatory proficiency tests or water courses. However, completing these tests is no substitute for experience—new operators may not have the skills to handle every challenge they encounter.
- Inattention: Like texting and driving a land vehicle, distracted boating can lead to accidents. When you’re operating a boat, avoid checking your smartphone or getting distracted by boat passengers.
- Speeding: Similarly, speeding can lead to serious accidents and injury. If the boat is traveling too quickly, you may not have time to avoid hazards and obstructions. Most state parks have a 10 mph speed limit.
- Substance use: It might be tempting to enjoy a beer out on the water, but operating a boat under the influence is illegal in Ohio. Avoid drinking or using other substances when you’re piloting a water vessel.
- Impaired visibility: Finally, an obstructed view can cause operators to miss hazards. Ask passengers to give you a clear view of the water, and check your blind spots regularly.
What to do if you’re injured in a boating accident
Accidents can happen, even when you’re careful. If you’re involved in a boating accident, stop the boat at the scene and make sure your passengers are accounted for. If anyone needs first aid, provide care so long as it doesn’t endanger you or other passengers. Call emergency services if anyone is missing or has suffered serious injury.
If the accident caused injury requiring more than first aid, death or disappearance of a passenger, over $500 in damage or complete loss of the vessel, you must file an accident report. Do not admit fault.
Finally, call the Law Offices of Tim Misny for legal help. If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
Call an Ohio accident attorney today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your boating accident claim. If you or a loved one were injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away.