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Report: Number of boating accidents around Alaska doubles

Alaskans are no strangers to boating, whether it is for a person's occupation or hobby. And for the most part, people understand the importance of being safe and observing boating regulations to avoid accidents.

Unfortunately, accidents do still happen for a variety of reasons. Recently, for instance, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that the number of fatal recreational boating accidents in Alaska doubled last year. And many of these crashes were tied to alcohol. This report should serve as a reminder to all boaters -- recreational or professional -- that maritime accidents can be deadly when people fail to take some of the following precautions.

  1. Avoiding operation of a boat when drunk or under the influence of drugs: These substances are highly unsafe when combined with the operation of heavy machinery, whether you are having some drinks with friends or using dangerous pharmaceuticals to make it through a long work shift. Your decision-making skills, reflexes and vision can all be impaired, making a person unfit to safely operate a vessel.
  2. Conducting vessel-safety checks: Any mode of transportation requires maintenance and inspections to keep it operating properly. This is no different for boats. Before you head out on the water, you would be wise to inspect your boat and make sure there are no mechanical problems or other issues that could make it unsafe.
  3. Paying attention: Keeping your eye on things like your passengers or crew, the weather and the performance of a boat can be all it takes to prevent a serious accident.

Unfortunately, there are people who fail to take these steps and third-parties who prioritize profits over the safety of people on the water. When people do not comply with basic safety precautions and accident-prevention measures, they can and should be held accountable for the consequences.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident in Alaska, you may have grounds to pursue workers' compensation or damages from a personal injury or wrongful death claim. To understand more about your legal options in the wake of a maritime accident, consult an attorney.

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