For residents of and visitors to Connecticut, summer is a favored season for recreational boating. Like on our roadways, however, crashes can occur on our lakes and rivers, and on the ocean.
According to a 2017 report released by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), there are a number of ways boating crashes can happen. In 2017, the majority of boating accidents across the US happened in July - totaling 1,070 and resulting in 121 deaths.
National boating crash statistics
The five most common types of accidents in 2017 included:
- Collisions with other boats - 1,145 incidents, 49 deaths, and 721 injuries
- Collisions with fixed objects - 470 incidents, 63 deaths, and 327 injuries
- Flooding/swamping - 435 incidents, 76 deaths, and 132 injuries
- Falls overboard - 306 incidents, 179 deaths, 126 injuries
The top ten contributing factors identified by the USCG are:
- Operator inattention - 620 crashes, 45 deaths, and 381 injuries
- Improper lookout - 471 crashes, 23 deaths, and 337 injuries
- Operator inexperience - 436 crashes, 63 deaths, and 249 injuries
- Mechanical failures/defects - 305 crashes, 9 deaths, 80 injuries
- Alcohol impairment - 275 crashes, 102 deaths, and 227 injuries
- Excessive speed - 269 crashes, 11 deaths, and 247 injuries
- Navigation rules violations - 257 crashes, 22 deaths, and 165 injuries
- Inclement weather - 198 crashes, 40 deaths, and 60 injuries
- Hazardous water conditions - 187 crashes, 64 deaths, 124 injuries
- Wave or wake force - 169 crashes, 17 deaths, and 148 injuries
Open motorboats were identified as having the highest number of incidents - totaling 1,672 casualties, 305 deaths, and 1,367 injuries. Approximately 198 of these deaths involving open motorboats were drownings.
Other vessel types with the highest number of incidents included:
- Personal watercraft - 670 casualties, 46 deaths, and 624 injuries
- Cabin motorboat - 256 casualties, 36 deaths, and 220 injuries
- Canoe/kayak - 245 casualties, 138 deaths (122 from drowning), and 107 injuries
- Pontoon - 166 casualties, 33 deaths, and 133 injuries
Drowning was the leading cause of boating-related fatalities. In approximately 449 deaths by drowning, 68 of those who died were wearing life jackets - 370 were not wearing life jackets.
Other causes of boating-related fatalities included:
- Trauma - 113 deaths
- Cardiac arrest - 13 deaths
- Hypothermia - 6 deaths
- Carbon monoxide - 4 deaths
Prevalence of boating crashes in Connecticut
In Connecticut, there were approximately 49 boating crashes in 2017 - resulting in eight deaths and nine injuries.
In 2018, one incident at Candlewood Lake in Brookfield left one man dead due to drowning after a 17-foot motorboat capsized. The two men who occupied the boat were fishing when the boat became swamped due to high winds and rough waters.
One of the occupants was able to swim to shore, but the other was later pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital. At the time, this incident marked the second death of 2018 at Candlewood Lake.
In the event that you are involved in a boating crash, you must report the incident to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection by filling out an accident reporting form.
When reporting an incident, you must include the following:
- Any deaths, including causes
- If a person has disappeared after falling overboard
- Injuries that require medical attention beyond first aid
- All accidents resulting in property damage of more than $500
After reporting a crash, it's critical that you discuss your matter with an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you or a loved one were injured, the legal team at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli will investigate your crash and devise a legal strategy to maximize your compensation.
Learn more by contacting us online today.