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Kentucky Boating Accidents

Kentucky is fortunate to have many beautiful lakes, rivers and waterways available to boating enthusiasts. In fact, there were over 175,000 motorboats and water crafts registered in Kentucky in 2012. While boating in Kentucky on the Ohio River, and lakes such as Lake Cumberland, Kentucky Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Lake Barley and Green River Lake can be a relaxing and fun-filled recreational activity, it does involve risk of injury and sometimes even death when boating accidents occur. The owners and operators of pleasure boats and even jet skis may be held liable for negligence for these accidents if boating rules, regulations and safety measures are not followed.

What are the Causes of Boating Accidents in Kentucky?

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for enforcing boating laws and restrictions on the rivers and lakes of Kentucky. Kentucky law enforcement will patrol Kentucky waterways to try to ensure safety for recreational boaters. Still, there are between 50 and 100 boating accidents annually in Kentucky. According to, in all fifty states the Coast Guard counted 4515 accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3000 injuries and approximately $38 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. The fatality rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

The Recreational Boating Statistics for 2012 indicate that the leading causes of accidents in the United States are:

Causes of Boating Accidents in the U.S. Number of Collisions in Kentucky Number of Injuries
Operator inattention 581 359
Operator inexperience 417 303
Improper lookout 391 278
Machinery failure 346 115
Excessive speed 310 288
Navigation rules violation 290 236
Alcohol use 280 227
Force of wave/wake 228 204
Weather 221 103
Hazardous waters 184 92

The top five types of accidents are:

  • Collision with recreational vessel
  • Flooding/swamping
  • Collision with fixed object
  • Grounding
  • Water Skier / Jet Ski mishap

What should you do if you think you have a Boating Accident Lawsuit in Kentucky?

When factors such as these contribute to an accident and injuries or fatalities, the boat drivers, owners or possibly the boat rental companies may be liable for the damages suffered by the victim. Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, injuries or even loss of life. In order to make a claim, you will want to have proof of negligence. Negligence may include reckless operation of a watercraft or failure to maintain a water vessel (boat) properly.

Additionally, negligence may include failure to have or use safety equipment on board of a pleasure boat. For example, Kentucky requires that each person on board a personal watercraft have access to a life vest, and that all children under 12 wear a lifejacket at all times. Of course, boat operators will be held liable if they operate a water craft under the influence of alcohol; in Kentucky the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is .08%.

You may need to have law enforcement records, eyewitness testimony or photographs/video of the accident or the scene of the boating accident to better prove your claim.

Speak to Brett Oppenheimer about Your Kentucky Boating Accident

It is important that victims of boating accidents immediately protect their legal rights. Personal Injury Attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer in Louisville, Kentucky has been representing people who have been injured in accidents and their survivors since 1991.

You can contact Brett via email or phone at (502) 242-8877 to discuss the specifics of your case. Brett will help you to determine if you have a viable personal injury claim and will assist you in pursuing a just resolution to your boating accident claim.