Colorado & Arizona
Boating Accident Attorneys

Serving Denver Metro, Boulder, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, all of Colorado, and Phoenix, AZ


Boating in Colorado and in Arizona is a relatively safe and highly popular past-time across the state, and many visit our state to enjoy various activities. Yet, boating comes with its own set of responsibilities and risks. From inexperienced operators to boating in dangerous waters, there are several reasons for the majority of boating accidents in Colorado and Arizona. The sad fact is, the majority of boating accidents are preventable human errors.

Top 10 Boating Accident Causes Nationally

According to data collected by the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 4,463 boating accidents in 2016 in U.S. Waters. In these accidents, 701 people died and another 2,903 were injured. The fatality rate was 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Compared to 2015, the number of accidents increased 7.3 percent, the number of deaths increased 12 percent, and the number of injuries increased 11.1 percent.

The top five accident types across the country 2016 include:

Collisions with another vessel
There were 1051 collisions, leading to 38 deaths, and 708 injured

Flooding caused 470 accidents leading to 90 deaths and 156 injuries

Collision with fixed object
Colliding with a fixed object caused 565 accident, that led to 63 deaths and 432 injuries

Grounding the vessel accounted for 413 accidents in which 13 people died and 246 more were injured

Capsizing caused 305 accidents, 175 deaths, and 200 injuries

Colorado Boating Accident Statistics

In the 2015 Colorado Boating Statutes and Regulations, Colorado Parks & Wildlife published the statistics for boating accidents in the state.[1] The Denver Post also wrote on the number of boating deaths that occurred in Colorado by the middle of 2014. According to the Post, 15 people died in boating accidents by July, the highest number of Colorado boating accident deaths since 2009.[2]

The primary causes for boating accidents, deaths, and injuries are operator inattention, reckless operation, and boating in hazardous waters. The most common accident types include:

  • Collision with a vessel
  • Flooding
  • Capsizing

Each of these factors may indicate operator inexperience. If you have been hurt by the negligence or recklessness of a boat’s operator, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Contact Ramos Law Firm to learn more about your rights in a boating accident.

Of these alcohol-related fatalities,

  • 6,860 involved a driver with a BAC of .15 or more
  • 1567 were passengers of drunk drivers
  • 1157 were passengers in other vehicles
  • 837 of these people were not in a vehicle when they were killed[3]

National Boating Accident Statistics

The top ten causes for boating accidents across the country in 2016 include:

  1. Operator Inattention
    There were 597 collisions, leading to 45 deaths, and 373 injured
  2. Operator Inexperience
    Operator inexperience caused 480 accidents leading to 62 deaths and 301 injuries
  3. Improper Lookout
    Improper lookout caused 475 accidents, that led to 20 deaths and 380 injuries
  4. Excessive Speed
    Speeding accounted for 360 accidents in which 39 people died, and 275 more were injured
  5. Machinery Failure
    Machine failure caused 323 accidents, 9 deaths, and 117 injuries
  6. Alcohol Use: Alcohol use caused 282 accidents, 87 deaths, and 264 injuries
  7. Weather: Mother Nature caused 214 accidents, 41 deaths, and 103 injuries
  8. Navigation Rule Violations: Violation of rules caused 213 accidents, 10 deaths, and 157 injuries
  9. Hazardous Waters: Dangerous waters caused 205 accidents, 80 deaths, and 97 injuries
  10. Force of Wave/Wake: The force of waves have caused 160 accidents, 7 deaths, and 137 injuries

Colorado Boating Accident
Frequently Asked Questions

After so many years working with those who have been injured in Colorado boating accidents, we have compiled a short list of the most common questions to better help you understand boating laws and what to do after an accident.

I was in a small collision and didn’t contact the authorities. Should I have?

Colorado law requires that you contact Parks & Wildlife if the accident caused an injury that required more than first-aid, or if the accident causes more than $500 in damage, and someone involved in the accident is suspected to have disappeared or died. Federal law requires that you report any accident that involves serious injury, disappearance, or death, or one that involved $2,000 or more of property damage, within 48 hours.

I was in a boat in bad weather and it capsized and I was injured. Can I sue the operator of the boat for my injuries?

Speak to an experienced boat accident attorney as soon as possible so they can review your case. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries because the boat operator may have neglected their responsibilities under the law by taking you out in bad weather.

My family was in a boat collision and we believe the operator of the other boat was drunk. What should we do?

We recommend that you contact your attorney immediately so they can review your case and begin their investigations as soon as possible. You should also file a report with the Division of Parks & Wildlife if you haven’t already. You may be able to file a complaint against the operator of the other boat and get relief for your injuries and medical bills.

Have You Been Injured in a
Colorado Boating Accident?

The Colorado boat wreck attorneys at The Ramos Law Firm have been fighting for the rights of accident victims for nearly a quarter century and they stand ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Emergency medical physician and attorney Joseph Ramos and the car accident team at the Ramos Law Firm have the skills and experience to guide you through complex legal and medical processes.

If you have been hurt in a Colorado boating accident (303) 733-6365 to speak to one of our accident lawyers today for a complimentary case evaluation.

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