Articles Posted in Boating Accidents

The US Coast Guard is suspending its search of Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith, Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, and former University of South Florida football player Will Bleakley. The three boaters, who had gone on a fishing trip off Florida’s Gulf Coast were reported missing at around 1:30 am on Sunday. Search efforts began about half an hour later.

One of the other boaters, Nick Schuyler, who is also a former University of South Florida football player, was rescued on Monday. Schuyler says all of them had been wearing life vests when the boat capsized and that they held on to the 21-foot boat for about 12 to 16 hours until Bleakley, Cooper, and Smith finally let go.The boat belongs to Cooper. 10-foot tall weaves reportedly played a role in the catastrophic boating accident.

According to the US Coast Guard, some 200 boats have capsized in last five months. Capsizing is the number one cause of US boating accidents.

Just last week, officials recovered the bodies of a 7-year-old girl and her 48-grandfather after their 15-foot boat toppled over when the steering cable broke, causing the boat to go out of control. In 2007, About 284 injuries and 204 deaths occurred from 398 capsized boat accidents.

The next two leading causes of US boating accidents are falls overboard and boating collisions with other vessels.

If the boat you are riding in capsizes, the US Coast Guard advises passengers to stay close to the boat to make it easier for rescuers to find you. Officials also recommend letting family and friends know where you will be and where you plan to go in your boat.

Coast Guard suspends search for NFL players, AP, March 3, 2009
200 boats have capsized in past five months, Coast Guard says, CNN, March 3, 2009
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United States Coast Guard

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In Maryland, 10 people died and 120 people were injured in boating accidents last year. These latest figures were released this year by the US Coast Guard and indicate a slight increase from the 8 Maryland boating fatalities that occurred in 2006.

Nationally, the US Coast Guard is reporting a total drop in boating deaths, with 688 fatalities in 2007 compared to 710 deaths since 2006. The report, however, also found that the number of accidents, injuries, and property that was damaged increased dramatically.

3,686 people were injured in boating accidents in 2007, compared to the 3,476 injuries in 2006. Total recreational boating accidents rose from 4,967 in 2006 to 5,233 in 2007. Property damage costs reached a record $53,288,858 last year, up from $43,670,424, which was already considered a record figure in 2006.

Leading causes of boating accidents included:

• Careless operation
• Reckless operation
• Operating a vessel at excessive speeds
• Drunk driving
• Passenger conduct
• Skier conduct

Vessels that were most commonly involved in boating accidents included:

• Motorboats
• Cabin motorboats
• Personal watercrafts
U.S. Coast Guard Reports A Decrease Of Deaths On the Water, May 15, 2008
Boating Accidents, US Coast Guard
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Maryland Natural Resources Police

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The Maryland Natural Resources Police have charged Milton Owings, a Glen Burnie resident, with the negligent operation of a vessel after the boat he was operating capsized.

Two of his passengers fell into the water. One victim, a 17-year-old boy, had to be flown to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he received treatment for a foot injury.

The boating accident occurred on Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean south of the Inlet. According to the NRP, Owings should have exercised greater caution due to the rough ocean conditions.

Boat operators and owners are required to exercise certain duties of care when operating a vessel. If a boat owner or operator acts negligently or recklessly and someone is injured, the responsible party can be sued for personal injury or wrongful death.

2004 boating accident statistics from the US Coast Guard:

• 4,904 recreational boating accidents in the US
• 3,363 injuries
• 676 deaths
• $35 million plus in property damage

Causes of these boating accidents included:

• Operator inexperience
• Operator inattention
• Speeding
• Reckless driving

Capsizing and falls overboard are the leading cause of boating-related deaths.

In Maryland, our boating accident lawyers are familiar with the state, county, and city laws that govern boating accidents, and we can help you determine whether you have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. If you have been injured in a boating accident, do NOT speak with representatives for any other parties that were involved in the collision until you contact an experienced Maryland boat crash law firm first.

Md. police charge boater in ocean mishap, Delaware, July 16, 2008
Related Web Resources:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

US Coast Guard

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In Baltimore County Circuit Court last week, William C. Spittel was sentenced to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine after he pled guilty to one count of negligent manslaughter by vessel. Spittel was the operator of a 24-foot motorboat that struck a channel marker in the Pleasure Island Cut, close to where the Chesapeake Bay and the Back River meet.

Spittel and his two passengers were thrown from the boat. While he and one of the passengers were rescued, Ellicott resident Michael D. Schott did not survive the boating collision.

The US Coast Guard says that there were 710 boating deaths in 2006 and 3,474 injuries. Causes of injuries and deaths included drowning accidents, operator inattention, recklessness, carelessness, speeding, machinery failure, no proper lookout, and alcohol use, which was the leading cause of deadly boating accidents.

The top five kinds of boating accidents in 2006 included collision with another vessel, collision with a fixed object, skier accidents, falls overboard, and capsized vessels. In Maryland, boating accident victims and their loved ones have the right to file personal injury/wrongful death claims and lawsuits against a negligent boat operator or another liable party.

Our Maryland boating crash law firm represents clients injured on private boats, cruise ships, jet skis, ferries, or any other kinds of vessels. We know how to properly investigate and pursue your case so that you can receive your financial recovery.

If your boating accident was caused by a defect in the boat, one of our Maryland boating products liability lawyers can investigate the defect and file a defective products claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Man admits role in fatal boat accident, Baltimore Sun, June 6, 2008

2006 Boating Statistics

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Boating in Maryland

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Michael Douglas Schott, 33, an Ellicott City man, died of head injuries and drowning after he was thrown from a large (24-foot) motorized boat on Back River near the Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore County last weekend.

Maryland Natural Resources Police say that Schott fell off the boat when it hit a big metal channel marker that had been driven into the ground.

Boat owner/driver William Charles Spittel and Jason Joseph Bard were also thrown from the boat.

Spittel was treated for his concussion in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, while Bard was released at the accident scene.

The CDC offers the following drowning-related statistics:

• 3,308 unintentional fatal drownings took place in the U.S. in 2004.

• 676 fatalities of drowning involved other causes, such as boating-related accidents.

Common causes of head injuries include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, falls, physical assault, skating accidents, bicycle accidents, and skateboarding accidents.

There are different kinds of trauma that can occur to the head. There is the penetrating trauma, where a sharp object enters the skull and possibly causes brain damage or death. There is the blunt head trauma that occurs from a direct blow to the head.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a boating accident that you believe was caused by someone’s negligence, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer right away who can help determine whether you have a boating accident claim on your hands. A personal injury attorney can also help you if you have sustained a head injury caused by another person’s careless or negligent behavior.

The CDC also names the following risk factors that often lead to water-related injuries:

• Lack of supervision and barriers (such as pool fencing).
• Recreation in natural water settings (such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean). • Recreational boating. Boating carries risks for injury. • Alcohol use. Alcohol use is involved in about 25% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation (Howland et al. 1995; Howland and Hingson 1988)

• Seizure disorders. For persons with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death, with the bathtub as the site of highest drowning risk (Quan et al. 2006).

Boating Accident Claims Life of Ellicott City Man, Howard County Times, August 9, 2007
Water-Related Injuries: Fact Sheet,
Head Injury Causes,

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Boating in Maryland

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A 30-year-old man was critically injured on the Elk River in Cicel County, Maryland, after the Jet Ski-type watercraft he was riding collided with a 42-foot-long, high performance boat. Christopher J. Leight, 30, was treated in Baltimore at the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center for his injuries where he is still in critical condition.

Leight’s cousin, 21-year-old Kristy L. Szewczak who was also involved in the boating accident, died from her injuries.

Maryland Police are investigating the crash. The driver and passengers on the boat did not sustain any injuries.

Maryland has a number of safety regulations for passengers riding personal watercrafts:

• Be at least 16 years of age to operate.
• Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
• Carry a certificate of boater safety education if born on or after July 1, 1972.
• Maintain 6 knots or slower within 100 feet of another PWC, vessel, shore, pier, piling, bridge structure, abutment or people in the water

• Have PWC equipped with an operating self-circling device or kill switch.

• Operate above idle speed in water less than 18 inches in depth
• Operate between sunset and sunrise.
• Jump, or attempt jumping, the wake of another vessel within 100 feet of that vessel.
• Operate within 300 feet of people in the water or surf fishing activities in the Atlantic Ocean.
• Disturb waterfowl and wildlife.

• Operate in a reckless and/or negligent manner.

Maryland Natural Resources police say that 50 of the 163 boating accidents that occured on Maryland’s waters involved personal watercrafts. At least one person was injured in each of these accidents.

Even if you abide by these safety regulations, injuries and accidents can still occur.

Boating accident leaves man critical,, July 26, 2007
Jet Ski Accidents Common on Md. Waters,, July 3, 2007
Personal Watercraft Safety (PWC), Boating in Maryland

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Accident Statistics, U.S. Coast Guard

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As the boating season begins, Maryland Natural Resources Police have their eyes on Ocean City, Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, and Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County as three areas where the largest number of boating accidents have been known to occur.

In 2006, boating police implemented state trooper strategies in these “big three” areas and succeeded in reducing the number of boating accidents in all three places. They plan to implement the same strategies this year.

Strategies from last year included using helicopter patrols to survey the areas, radio warnings to boats patrolling the areas, checkpoints for testing boat drivers for driving under the influence, and visits to personal watercraft rental shop areas to make sure renters obeyed state laws.

In Ocean City, personal watercrafts are the number #1 problem in Ocean City’s waters, according to the Maryland NRP. In 2005, there were 29 boating accidents in the area, and nearly half of the boats involved were personal watercrafts. More than 50% of these vessels were privately owned and driven by individuals 16-21 years of age who weren’t certified in boater safety.

The U.S. Coast Guard offers a number of boating statistics for 2005, including the following:
• There were 4,969 boating accidents in 2005
• 697 of these accidents resulted in deaths
• 3,451 accidents resulted in injuries
• Over $38 million in property was damaged in these accidents
• The most commonly reported kind of accident involved one boat colliding with another vessel
• Falls overboard and boats capsizing make up 59% of all boating deaths
• Leading contributing factors of all accidents that were reported include operator inattention, carelessness/reckless operation, operator inexperience, and excessive speed
• Alcohol either directly or indirectly contributed to about 25% of all boating deaths

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Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police say that a 16-year-old Elkton boy was critically injured last week after the tube that he was being towed in hit the floating pier at 55 Knollwood Road on the Elk River. Susan Archibald was operating the personal watercraft (PWC) that was towing the tube on Tuesday, September 12. The teenager was taken to Maryland Trauma Shock Center where he was treated for injuries. The NRP are investigating the incident and deciding whether to press charges.

According to the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation’s website:

· 12,290 people were treated in emergency rooms due to PWC-related injuries.

In Maryland yesterday, diving teams recovered the body of a man who had been killed while participating in a boat race on September 3.

Maryland Natural Resources Police say Paul Henry Sohn had been racing his boat the Jumpin’ Jack Flash in the yearly Ragin’ On the River Powerboat Race on Sunday, when the boat split in half after bouncing off another boat’s wake and launching into the air. His body, recovered at the bottom of the Susquehanna River, was still strapped to the boat. Sohn’s son, 15-year-old Timothy John Sohn, who had also been on the boat at the time of the accident, was able to escape uninjured.

Volunteer dive teams from Hartford, Cecil, and Baltimore counties joined DNR dive teams and emergency crews from the powerboat association to look for Sohn.

In Anne Arundel County, the body of an Arlington man was pulled from the Severn River on Sunday night. Daniel Pemsler, 24, was killed in a boating accident this weekend. Maryland Natural Resources say that Permsler had just let go of a tube he had been riding and was waiting in the water to get picked up by a boat when he was hit and killed by another boat.

Some Safety Tips To Consider When Swimming In A Natural Body Of Water:

– Never swim alone.

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