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Recreational boating accidents - causes and safety tips

Recreational boating accidents - causes and safety tips

August 8, 2018

Hawaii is the perfect place for recreational boating. The beautiful and warm waters of the Pacific are home to a variety of fish and wildlife, and recreational boating provides a fun time for family and friends to gather. However, recreational boating also poses a serious risk of injuries. Our firm wants to provide you with safety tips to avoid a boating accident.

According to the American Boating Association (ABA®), the most common causes of recreational boating accidents include:

  • Boating under the influence of alcohol (BUI)
  • Operator inexperience
  • Harsh weather conditions
  • Improper lookout
  • Boat equipment failure
  • Improperly loaded gear and passengers
  • Boat operator error


1. Provide Routine Maintenance

Proper maintenance is important to ensure your boat is in good working condition. It is important to inspect your boat, replace or repair worn down components, check the engine parts, and maintain boating equipment before and after each trip. This can help prevent a serious accident from equipment malfunctions.

2. Avoid Alcohol Consumption

While it may be tempting to have a few beers with friends, boat operators must limit their alcohol intake or avoid drinking alcohol entirely while behind the wheel. Alcohol limits your ability to make quick decisions, recognize dangerous situations, and operate the boat in a safe and legal manner. That is why it is important to stay focused and alert, and to avoid drinking alcohol when behind the wheel. Boating under the influence (BUI) is also a serious crime.

3. Get the Proper Training

Many boat operators do not have the training or knowledge to safely operate a boat. There are several laws in place to regulate the navigation of boats. Not knowing navigational rules, or lacking a detailed knowledge of how your boat operates, puts you at risk for an accident. It is important to obtain the necessary training before going out on the water. This will also help you be prepared in case of an emergency.

4. Prepare Before Each Trip

Before heading out on a boating excursion, it is important to check the forecast. The weather in Hawaii can change rapidly, and it is important to avoid going boating when a storm or other hazardous weather condition is expected. Furthermore, you should make sure everything is properly balanced to avoid sinking or capsizing, particularly for smaller craft.

5. Practice Safe Boating Habits

While on the water, it is important to have everyone on board wear a life jacket. This includes adults. If an emergency happens, wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between life and death. It is also important to go a safe speed, stay focused, and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. By staying alert and aware, you can reduce your risk of a boating accident.

LEAVITT, YAMANE & SOLDNER – (808) 537-2525

For more than 45 years, Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner has provided aggressive representation to injured clients. If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, you have the right to pursue financial relief in a personal injury lawsuit. Our Honolulu personal injury attorneys will analyze your situation and walk you through the legal process as you seek justice from negligent parties.

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