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Don’t Let a Boating Accident Ruin Your Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the traditional start of summer, but for some boaters and their families, it may be a tragic ending. Last year, a 37-year-old man drowned in the Chesapeake Bay when a small boat capsized in the early morning hours. Seven people out fishing on Memorial Day on Whitehall Bay near Annapolis had to be rescued when their motorboat hit a sandbar and capsized. In North Carolina, a woman died and a man was seriously injured when their boat hit a dock on the shore of Lake James, bringing the total of fatalities related to boat accidents in that state up to 16 before the summer had even started.

Summer is peak season for boating accidents and drowning in U.S. waters. More than half of all boating accidents take place during June, July and August. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, three of the five leading causes of recreational boating accidents in 2014 were:

  • Operator inattention
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use

However, alcohol use is by far the greatest contributing factor when it comes to fatal accidents on the water. Boaters should be aware that the legal limit for blood alcohol content is the same (0.08 percent) for operators as for drivers. The leading cause of death in a boating accident is drowning. In 2014, 418 people drowned as the result of recreational boating accidents, and 337 of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol use and failure to wear a life jacket is a particularly dangerous combination.

At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we want you to enjoy a safe, pleasant summer. Those who take to the water must realize that safety always comes first, and that many of the “rules of the road” apply equally on the water. Boaters should observe posted speed limits, yield the right-of-way when appropriate, always wear a life jacket, and refrain from alcohol when operating a boat.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a boating accident, contact Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban Our attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience in accident cases. Call us at (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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