Maryland’s pristine rivers, bays, tributaries and coastal waters attract recreational boaters from around Annpolis and up and down the East Coast. Unfortunately, many owners think operating a boat is no big deal and fail to obtain the requisite training and experience to do so safely. Some boaters let their guard down while piloting a water vessel, act recklessly or drink alcohol, and thereby put themselves and other boaters, skiers, paddlers and swimmers in serious danger.

Common causes of boating crashes and injuries

An enjoyable day on the water can quickly turn tragic because of negligent boaters or errors by passengers. Among the controllable factors that can contribute to an accident and increase the severity of injuries are:

  • Operator error
  • Excessive speed
  • Driving the vessel recklessly
  • Drinking alcohol while operating the vessel
  • Equipment failure
  • Inadequate number of lifejackets for passengers
  • Lighting malfunction at night or in bad weather

Types of serious injuries on vessels

The types of serious injuries related to a boating incident are not just confined to drowning deaths. Boaters may also be at risk of:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning motor
  • Lacerations from sharp tools or fishing hooks
  • Amputation from propellers
  • Head trauma caused by hitting a hard surface, such as from falling into an open engine compartment, or tripping on the steps leading into the cabin
  • Brain damage from drowning survival
  • Spinal cord injury from a skiing or wakeboarding accident

Boating under the influence (BUI) accidents

An operator who registers 0.08  percent or higher or who is under the influence of drugs is considered impaired under Maryland statutes. Penalties for a first-time BUI include up to one year in prison and fines of up to $1,000. A second or third conviction carries even harsher sentences.

Maryland authorities take BUI seriously because it is so dangerous.  If you have a boating accident please call the Massey Law Group at 301-982-4529