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These causes of boating accidents can lead to death or injury

You love going out on the water, and since winter is approaching, you're spending as much time on the water as possible. With the changing season, weather conditions are more unpredictable, and you want to do what you can to avoid a crash.

Boat accidents take place for many reasons, the weather included. A few common causes of crashes include speeding, alcohol use and equipment failure. There are steps you can take to avoid accidents influenced by these factors.

First, make sure you take care of your boat and keep it in good condition. You should maintain the boat regularly, checking its engine, navigation lights and communication systems. You also need to maintain the vehicle's steering system, body and other parts of the boat to keep it safe for use. If you're only renting a boat, make sure you know that the boat has been serviced regularly. If not, it may be in your best interests to try a different boat or marina.

Speeding and alcohol use are two other factors that influence boating accidents. Over half of all fatalities in boating accidents are a result of the driver drinking before the collision. People who drive boats have laws to follow, just like those who drive on land. You can't have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher on a boat and drive.

If you speed, whether or not you're intoxicated, it puts your life and the lives of others at risk. The boat could hit a wave wrong when they become harsh from high winds, and it could capsize. You could impact another passing boater on a foggy night. You could impact a sandbar or find you don't have enough time to stop before hitting the shore.

These are all factors that play a role in boating accidents. If you're hurt because a driver didn't take time to maintain his or her boat or because he or she was speeding or drinking, you can look into your legal options.

Source: NASBLA connect, "4 Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents," Mark Hassaki, accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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