Boating Accidents

Table of contents

Things you DON’T want to be involved in!

This article is focused on the 8 most common boating accidents!


With more people taking to the water for their recreation, this means there are more craft out there
which in turns means the potential to be involved in an accident is becoming greater.

No matter if you’re in a canoe, runabout, cruiser, luxury vessel or any other watercraft, there’s always the chance that you may be involved in an accident either due to your actions or that of others!

Common Boating Accidents

Boating accidents include damage to or loss of a boat, minor to critical injuries, loss of life, missing persons or damage to property including marine infrastructure.

Boating accidents can include but are not limited to:

• Injury or drowning whilst swimming or undertaking other in-water activities;
• A collision with another vessel, semi-submerged object, animal or marine infrastructure;
• Injury due to lose or unsecured items onboard;
• A fire onboard;

accidents 2

• An explosion and/or fire when refuelling;
• A person falling overboard;
• The vessel taking on water (flooding);
• A vessel capsizing;

accidents 3

• Injury due to towing a water skier, wakeboard, etc.

While accidents do happen, many can be avoided by simply thinking ahead and having the appropriate boating knowledge.

Drowning is one of the highest causes of death due to boating accidents. The simple use of lifejackets and having safety procedures in place greatly reduces the potential of you or your family and/or friends becoming a victim!

8 Common Causes of Boating Accidents

  1. A distracted Master
  2. A Master under the influence
  3. Poor weather conditions
  4. Inexperienced Master
  5. Overloading
  6. Improper lookout
  7. Failure to comply with navigational aids
  8. Reckless operation
accidents 4

Responsible Boat Operation

By simply operating a boat responsibly, one can avoid so many scenarios that could lead to a boating tragedy. For example, there are many instances where an individual goes overboard due to drug/alcohol abuse, driving a boat irresponsibly, or another passenger being irresponsible.

If the vessel’s Master understands how to operate the vessel responsibly, is knowledgeable of vessel safety, and understands how to keep themselves and their passengers safe, most trauma and tragedy can be avoided.

Small details such as speed limits in no-wake zones, checking weather reports before boating, sharing safety tips with passengers, and making sure your vessel is suited to go out on the water are all helpful when it comes to being out on the water and help prevent you from having to call for help.

Useful links


See how to avoid these common accidents in our next article!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our top recommendations are:

  1. Take extreme care when refuelling and always monitor tank levels to prevent overfilling;
  2. Ensure other people on the boat behave responsibly at all times to prevent accidents such as falling overboard;
  3. Avoid alcohol while being the Master or at least minimise your consumption. Remember it’s a 0.05 limit for people operating vessels, just the same as for driving a car; and
  4. At all times maintain a proper lookout!


Regulations vary from state to state or territory so it’s a great tip to check your state or territory regulations for recreational boating!

Feel free to contact our office if you have any queries on 07 4242 1412 or email

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