Under normal circumstances, boating season would be just weeks away here in Massachusetts. It is a good time to reflect on boating safety, and reckless behavior that causes the most boat accidents.

Drinking and boating is certainly a major problem on Massachuetts’ coast, lakes and other waterways. But simple inattention, inexperience or an overly casual attitude at the wheel or tiller also put other boaters in serious danger.

Let’s put it this way: when you on the highway, you can trust that (most) other motorists around have a valid driver’s license. If they are driving with a permit, they are being closely supervised by a parent, instructor or another adult. Most of them are focused on the road, and have lane markers and signs to keep them a safe distance from you. And, hopefully, nobody has passengers who are drinking alcohol or being a distraction.

Can you say the same things are true when you are out on the water with motorboats? Probably not.

Massachusetts boating laws are laxer than its driving laws

For one thing, children as young as 12 can operate a motorboat in Massachusetts, either with adult supervision or a boating safety certificate. For another, even among adults, it is easy to feel more casual than on highways and city streets. This attitude can lead to wandering attention or poor decision-making, such as drinking and boating or distracted boating.

In turn, inexperienced or reckless boaters can put you in danger of a collision, putting yourself and others in your boat at risk of serious injury. Or you could be the passenger in a boat that crashes because of a negligent or immature person is steering.

Your response after an accident is crucial

No matter how responsibly and carefully you act on the water, you cannot predict when a boating accident will happen to you. But you can take control of your right to compensation afterward by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.