Summer is here and families and friends are gathering on one of the many lakes and rivers in Denton County, Texas. Increased activity leads to a crowded water recreation area which can lead to accidents. At Springer & Lyle, we want to make sure you know what to do if you are involved in a boating accident.
The Texas Parks and Recreation Department notes that Texas has:
- 1.7 million acres of freshwater lakes.
- 4 million acres of Saltwater.
- 80,000 miles of river.
- Approximately 590,000 recreational water vessels.
Anyone born on or after September 1, 1993, must complete a Boater Education Certificate course to operate a personal watercraft on Texas waters. After completion of the course, a person will receive a Boater Education Card. Boaters who are caught operating without their Card can be fined up to $500.
Boating Accident Statistics and Coast Guard Reporting Requirements
The U.S. Coast Guard keeps records of all accidents that occur on the water. In 2021 in Texas, there were 238 reportable boating accidents with 52 fatal accidents resulting in 58 deaths. Another 149 people suffered injuries serious enough to report them to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard requires boating accidents to be reported to a state reporting authority under the following conditions:
- A person dies.
- A person disappears from the vessel under conditions that indicate there was a death or an injury.
- A person is injured and requires medical treatment more than just standard first aid.
- The damage to the vessel or other property totals $2,000 or more.
- There is a complete loss of the vessel.
In Texas, the report can be made to the local law enforcement agency or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Main Factors Contributing to Boating Accidents
The Coast Guard has identified some factors contributing to boating accidents and subsequent injuries and death. They include:
- Operator inattention.
- Operator inexperience.
- Improper lookout.
- Alcohol use.
- Excessive speed.
- Violation of navigation rules.
- Failure to have required safety equipment on board.
Almost all causes can be traced to someone’s negligence. When you have been injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to collect for damages under the same principles that apply to collecting damages when injured in a car accident due to someone’s negligence.
The personal injury attorneys at Springer & Lyle can help you collect the reasonable compensation you are entitled for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other physical damage. Contact us at 940.387.0404 for a free consultation.