Boating While Under the Influence Leads to Deadly Accidents on Lake Mead

Madeleine Jones
December 28, 2016

Boating is a favorite year-round activity in Las Vegas, but boating under the influence can have deadly consequences. The U.S. Coast Guard compiles statistics each year on recreational boating incidents. Over 600 people were killed in 2015 alone. An accident attorney in Las Vegas can answer questions after a boating accident.

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infographic_Boating Under the Influence on Lake Mead


2015 Statistics Show An Increase From 2014

There was a total of 4,158 recreational boating accidents in 2015, which represents a 2.3% increase from 2014. Other statistics released include:

    • 626 deaths
    • 2,613 injuries
    • around $42 million in property damage
    • Fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels
    • Most of the fatalities were the result of drowning
  • 85% of drowning victims were not wearing a life vest

What Causes Boating Accidents?

71% of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had not received safety instruction. Only 15% of deaths took place in a craft where the operator had a nationally-approved safety certificate. There is no equal for proper training, and a Las Vegas boating accident attorney can help determine if negligence contributed to an accident.

The top five primary contributing factors included operator distraction or inattention, operator inexperience, machinery failure, excessive speed, and improper lookout. The use of alcohol was the leading contributing factor in fatal accidents when the primary cause was known.

Why Do So Many Accidents Happen At Lake Mead?

Lake Mead is a popular destination and is one of the most visited lakes in the nation. It is one of America’s most diverse national recreation areas, featuring boating, hiking, cycling, camping, and fishing year-round. In 2012, over 6 million visitors spent time at Lake Mead.

Accidents are more likely with higher numbers of visitors. Rentals are very popular on Lake Mead, and inexperienced drivers are more apt to have an accident, especially if alcohol is involved.

Alcohol and Boating Can Be A Deadly Combination

Many people do not realize that operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous and illegal as drunk driving. Nevada has strict laws about alcohol consumption on the water. Unfortunately, it is difficult for law enforcement to monitor a lake as large as Lake Mead continuously.

Anyone who plans on boating should ensure that the operator has taken a safety course and will abstain from alcohol. Any children on the craft under 12 should always wear a life vest. Boat operators under the age of 21 must obtain a boat education certificate.