Why are Deadly Boat Accidents on the Rise in Oregon?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Sep 02, 2020 in Personal Injury

boaters on the waterThis summer has been a deadly one for outdoor water enthusiasts who enjoy Oregon’s many options for boating recreation. The state has had 22 fatalities involving a boat this season, the most in a single year since the state’s current record of 25 back in 1993. There are still several weeks of warm weather expected, and many are concerned that number is likely to increase.

Rizk Law shares more about the rising number of boating accident fatalities and what you can do if you were injured because of another’s careless actions.

Contact our firm to arrange for a free consultation with one of our licensed attorneys. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss your case and get answers to your questions. There is no obligation to hire our services after this meeting.

Most Recent Boating Accidents

The spike began at the onset of Oregon’s warm weather season and involves speedboats and other motorized watercraft, as well as non-motorized boats, such as kayaks.

August has been an especially deadly month in the state, with eight fatalities involving a boat. Oregon Live reported that last weekend a 13-year-old boy swimming with his brothers at Henry Hagg Lake became the latest victim. Witnesses told the Washington County sheriff’s office that a 21-year-old male sped the 19-foot fiberglass ski boat he was operating into a no-wake zone and slammed into the boy. The teen succumbed to his injuries before reaching the hospital. Authorities arrested the 21-year-old, who was charged with reckless endangerment, operating a boat while intoxicated and second-degree manslaughter.

Higher Number of People Outdoors

The Statesman-Journal reported that 2020 has had a record number of people rushing to the outdoors. The pandemic is largely responsible for the spike in numbers, as there are a limited number of activities to participate in this year.

Randy Henry, the boating safety manager for the Oregon State Marine Board said that not only has there been more boating accidents, but there has also been an increase in fatal tubing and swimming accidents as well.

Too Many Not Following Safety Precautions

Henry said that the reason there have been more fatalities this year, in addition to the impact caused by COVID-19, is that many of those participating in watercraft activities have little to no experience. Henry said, “Lots of participation this year, which also means lots of novices. Motorized registrations are up as well and as noted earlier, we seem to be seeing a lot of boats coming out of retirement.”

Most of Oregon’s water recreation fatalities this year have involved swimmers, boat operators and passengers who were not wearing a life jacket. Out of the 22 fatalities, 20 were required to have a life jacket on board and accessible, 15 opted not to wear them, two did not properly buckle them and the three remaining cases are unknown.

Reckless Behavior That Can Lead to a Deadly Boat Accident

When boat outings involve large quantities of alcohol, even if the person drinking is a passenger, it can lead to unsafe behavior and cause a serious or even deadly accident. Officials implore visitors planning to participate in recreation on the water to follow these important safety recommendations:

  • Never operate or ride on a boat while intoxicated
  • Pay attention to all safety precautions – such as not speeding while in a no-wake zone
  • Wear safety attire, such as life jackets, making sure they fit properly and are worn as intended
  • Ride with an experienced operator or get training before going out on your own
  • Learn safe paddling methods

Contact Rizk Law for Legal Help After a Boat Accident

If you were injured in a boat accident, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries or other losses. Even if you are unsure whether you may have a case, we recommend you seek legal help to learn about your options.

At Rizk Law, we provide free initial consultations, with no obligation to pursue a claim. If our Portland boating accident lawyers take your case, there are no upfront costs to pay or while we represent you. We do not get paid until your case concludes, and only then if we recover compensation for you.

Call: 503.245.5677 today to schedule your no-risk, completely free consultation.