There are many factors that can result in an accident at sea. Some are caused by an inexperienced captain and crew, while others result from unfavorable conditions. Below are some of the most common factors contributing to maritime accidents throughout the world, including cruise ship, cargo vessel and pleasure craft accidents:
No matter what state you live in, there are strict maritime laws that govern pleasure craft activities. In addition to those laws, there are international maritime regulations that oversee the operation of cruise and cargo ships to ensure not only the safety of those onboard the vessels, but the safety of anyone else in the vicinity. From the smallest boat to the largest passenger ship in the world, one of the main rules everyone must abide by when manning the helm is the fact that a minimum amount of experience is required. There can be both age limits and experience restrictions when it comes to operating vessels in open water. Inexperience has resulted in many accidents at sea, mostly due to the fact that if a pilot or crew member does not have the sufficient expertise in responding to emergency situations, such as inclement weather or a collision, they will not understand how to maneuver out of the emergency. Yet, these types of accidents continue to occur.
Intoxication is one of the leading factors in maritime accidents, but mostly the main cause of accidents involving pleasure crafts. Cargo and cruise ship officers are more closely monitored and screened for alcohol abuse, but when it comes to operating smaller boats and jet skis, intoxication remains one of the top causes of crashes, injuries and deaths. The rules for consuming alcohol on land and operating a motor vehicle apply similarly to watercraft operations. Not only does alcohol impair judgment and one’s ability to control a water craft, but those who consume alcohol at sea can become inebriated much faster than they would on land. The combination of the heat, blowing wind and rocky movement of the waves speed up the rate at which a boater becomes impaired. Each maritime attorney at our firm can tell you many reasons why it’s a bad idea to consume alcohol while boating, but don’t take our word for it; statistics show that over 30 percent of boating accidents are caused by intoxicated operators. And sadly, accidents stemming from intoxication can be completely prevented.
Speeding is also one of the top factors contributing to maritime accidents. It’s easy to see how speed can result in an accident with a pleasure craft, but don’t be fooled, speed can also contribute to cruise and cargo vessel accidents. Pushing a large ship to its speed limits is extremely dangerous. One of the most famous cruise accidents in history, the sinking of the Titanic, was largely caused by the fact that the captain wanted to break records and get the ship to port earlier than scheduled. He ordered the ship to sail at full speed, despite the fact that neighboring vessels warned of icebergs in the area. Had the Titanic been sailing at regular speed, the iceberg would have been spotted with ample time and even if it wasn’t, the vessel could have come to a full stop much easier or maybe could have been steered around the iceberg.
All of these factors have one thing in common – negligence. Whether the cause is inexperience, intoxication, speeding, or even failing to check for mechanical issues, accidents stemming from negligence are completely avoidable and anyone who has been injured in such an accident has the right to contact an experienced maritime lawyer for help in filing a claim.