Two men died after a boat crash in Ripley last Saturday after their pontoon boat was in a collision with another vessel. The accident was yet another in a long list of boating accidents in Ohio. Data from the US Coastguard shows accidents are becoming more frequent in the state, and have climbed every year for the last five years. 2019 saw 128 boating accidents, of which 13 were fatal.

These were the causes listed for 2019 accidents:

  • Collisions: 37
  • Flooding or swamping: 27
  • Grounding: 20
  • Falls or ejections: 14
  • Capsizes: 11
  • Fires or explosions: 10
  • Water ski-ing: 8
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning: 1

If you look at these statistics, you will realize that in no case were these truly unpreventable accidents. There are no incidents of boats being struck by lightning in a freak storm or toppled over by unexpected high winds. You might argue that it is no-one’s fault if waves fill a boat and swamp it, or capsize it. Yet, someone failed to maintain a boat that leaked, and someone decided to take a boat out that struggles in rough conditions.

If a person falls because they were not secured to the boat in a storm or drowns because they did not wear a lifejacket, that’s the fault of the person who was in charge of the boat. If a boat succumbs to rough water in weather that was clearly bad, that’s something the boat’s captain should have considered before taking the boat out.

It would be wrong to suggest that you can avoid all accidents. There is a risk in everything you do. Yet many accidents come down to negligence or an error by someone else. If you or a family member are in an Ohio boating accident, seek legal help to understand your options.