Arizona boasts well known lakes, including Lake Mead, Lake Pleasant, Saguaro Lake, Apache Lake, Roosevelt Lake, Bartlett Lake and Canyon Lake. Maricopa County is one of the highest boat ownership per capita counties in the country.
The combination of the number of boats in Arizona, the number of recreational lakes, and the hot weather leads to a high number of boating accidents, sometimes resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.
Boat collisions can be caused by speeding, taking boats too close to shore or swimming areas, boats hitting swimmers, other boats and water crafts.
Accidents can also occur by operators failing to look out for jet skiers, swimmers, other boats, failure to yield, overloading, failure to obey the rules of the water and operator inexperience.
The dangers of driving under the influence are well known. Boating while intoxicated is also a significant safety risk to boat occupants and others trying to enjoy the water. The combination of alcohol, heat, sun, noise and fatigue may affect one’s ability to safely operate a boat. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
The addition of busy holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day increase the dangers of boating under the influence, and increase the risks of injuries to others.
There may also be other parties at fault for a boating crash. Businesses that operate on or near the water must exercise reasonable care for the safety of customers and guests.