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How often and why do boats take on water?

Some jobs, like that of a fisherman, are one of the more dangerous ones that you can have. They often work far off the shore in some of the most treacherous waters. Bad weather, a collision with another vessel and other factors can quickly turn an already dangerous situation into an even more precarious one. One danger that fishers, cruise ships and other maritime workers have to remain vigilant for is their vessels taking on water. A boat or ship can sink quite fast if this happens.

Statistics compiled by Boat U.S. captures what the most common causes of boat sinkings are. Their data shows that the leading cause of boat sinkings is wear, tear and corrosion. This factor accounts for at least 34% of these incidents.

The second leading factor that results in a boat sinking is a captain striking something. Unsecured fitting problems, swamping and improper docking are collectively responsible for 22% of all water vessel sinkings. Other factors that also cause such events include cockpit drainage issues, defective parts or work and hull damage.

That same U.S. Boats’ data shows that at least 69% of all sinkings occur while a boat is at the dock or moored. The remaining 31% of these events happen while the ship is navigating a body of water.

There are preventative measures that boat owners can take to minimize the risk of their boat taking on water. Boaters should always remember to put in the drain plug before leaving the dock and inspect the live-well plumbing and cockpit, stuffing box and the raw-water hoses. It’s also important to regularly check your sterndrive bellows and to replace your impeller every couple of years.

It’s a Louisiana boat owner’s responsibility to properly maintain their water vessel to minimize the risk of its crew unnecessarily exposing themselves to harm. It’s the captain’s job to steer clear of other boats and take additional precautionary measures to avoid putting crew members in harm’s way. An attorney may advise you that you qualify for compensated medical costs, lost wages and other expenses if either party neglects to do their job, and it causes you to get hurt at sea.