Maryland boating accidents
Whether on shore or on the water, recreational time spent with family and friends is precious. Boating—by kayak, motorboat, or personal watercraft—is a favorite pastime of many in Maryland. But if a boat operator or guest is negligent, fun can quickly turn fatal.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reports that 4,604 boating accidents in 2010 caused 672 deaths, 3153 injuries, and cost over $35 million dollars in property damage across the country. While the USGS noted a slight decline in accident figures in 2010, the Maryland Natural Resources Police reports a continuing upward trend in Maryland boating accidents since 2003.
Regardless of swimming ability, the mix of machinery, water, and people sometimes leads to injury and drowning. In order, following are leading causes of Maryland boating accidents reported in 2010:
- Passenger / water skier error
- No proper lookout
- Excessive speed
Most boating accidents in Maryland occurred in open motorboats, followed by cabin cruisers, personal watercraft (PWC), and sailboats. Reportable injuries were caused by impact with a vessel, a floating object, the water, or from exposure.
Safe boating means understanding your vessel and rules of the waterway. Boater education is mandatory in Maryland for anyone born after July 1, 1972.
Boating accidents are terrifying. For those unable to get help, drowning is fast, silent and usually preventable. If you boat, watch the rules and watch the wakes—and call us if you or someone you love has trouble on the water.