Known as the land of 10,000 lakes, arguably where Minnesota goes when it comes to boating accidents, so goes the rest of the nation. Through the years, Minnesota has presented something of a bellwether when it comes to what to anticipate in the way of the rate of boating accidents at the present point in time and into the near future. Unfortunately, Minnesota is witnessing an increasing in boating accidents and boating deaths this year.
Fatal Boat Accidents Reach 10 Year Record
By mid-summer 2021, the number of boating fatalities in Minnesota had reached a record not seen in the past decade. Inasmuch as that record breaking rate was reached in the midst of the summer boating season, the number of fatalities was expected and did climb even further.
Recreation Safety Outreach indicated that there appeared to be a number of reasons why the number of boating fatalities in Minnesota (and elsewhere across the United States) rose during the 2021 season:
The lessening of restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic brought a larger number of people to boating activities in 2021 than the prior year.
2021 was an especially hot summer, which resulted in more people being drawn to water recreational activities, including boating.
There has been an increase in the number of registered boats in Minnesota and in a considerable number of other states in the country during 2021.
On a related note, a large number of new boat registrations were by people with no prior experience in boat ownership.
Lack of Lifejackets
There is a relatively common theme among 2021 boating fatalities in Minnesota and across the United States. Approximately one-third of all people killed in boating accidents were not wearing lifejackets at the time of these incidents.
Investigation into these various boating accidents reveal that a considerable number of people killed in these incidents would not have died had they been using this gear. Another reality is that in these boating accidents, the law required that these individuals wear lifejackets under the circumstances.
Smaller Boats Make Up Larger Percentage of Fatal Boating Accidents
Another marker associated with the uptick in boating fatalities in Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States is that a significant percentage of these tragic events involve smaller watercraft. Specifically, between one-third and one-half of fatal boating accidents in 2021 have involved 16-footers as well as other smaller watercraft.
Alcohol and Fatal Boating Accidents
An alarmingly common theme associated with fatal boating accidents everywhere in 2021 is alcohol intoxication at the time of an incident. 40 percent of all fatal boating accidents involved alcohol at the time of the incident. This includes not only inebriated or impaired boat operators but passengers onboard who imbibed in alcoholic beverages as well.
The bottom-line regarding alcohol use and boating accidents is that many such incidents could have been avoided if people were not drinking and driving watercraft. Moreover, a passenger’s odds of surviving a boat accident are enhanced at least somewhat if they are not drinking or impaired by alcohol at the time of an incident.
If you’ve been injured in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the experienced, caring legal team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. If you’ve lost a family member in a fatal boating accident, our dedicated attorneys are here for you as well.
You can connect with our firm and schedule an initial consultation with a boating accident lawyer by calling us at (800) 349-0000. Our boating accident lawyer hotline is in operation day in and day, including all major holidays.
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