Boating Accidents

NC Ranks 4th in the Nation for Boating Accidents

The popularity of recreational boating, along with hundreds of miles of waterways in North Carolina, can sometimes lead to a heightened risk of accidents and injuries. From 2015 to 2016, the USCG concluded that the total number of accidents, injuries, and deaths from boating accidents increased by 7% or more for each category.

North Carolina ranked 4th for watercraft accidents in 2015, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

In 2015, a 17-year-old girl was struck by a boater and killed while knee-boarding at Lake Norman. The boater’s blood alcohol content was almost twice the North Carolina legal limit of 0.08.

In 2013 at High Rock Lake, a pregnant woman and her three-year-old son were thrown overboard when a speedboat going 50 mph collided with their pontoon boat. Both were killed. The driver of the speedboat stated he had not noticed the pontoon boat until it was too late.

Primary Causes of Boating Accidents

Plain and simple negligence and carelessness are the primary causes of most boating accidents. Here are some of the reasons they occur.

Alcohol and Drug Use
Weighing in at #1 is alcohol and drug use, according to the USCG. While boating is a great way to relax and have fun, use of alcohol and/or drugs can bring the fun quickly to an end.

Operator Inexperience
Safe and proper boating requires understanding boating controls and safety regulations, experience, and focus. Operators who do not follow or understand these regulations risk the safety of passengers, the driver, other boaters, swimmers, and others. Personal watercrafts account for a large percentage of water injuries. In many cases, young operators are driving wave runners.

Operator Negligence
There are numerous distractions that take away operator focus, including passengers, cell phones, other boaters, water conditions, tides and currents, and weather conditions, for starters.

Ignoring Rules of the Water
Ignoring navigation rules regarding passing other boats, crossing paths with other boats, appropriate speed limits, and restricted area markers and channel buoys can lead to dangerous situations for those on board, on shore, and in the water. Just like any highway accident, ignoring navigational safety rules can result in punishment, fines, and lawsuits.

Faulty Equipment
It is up to the boat owner to ensure that the boat, its equipment, and ancillary equipment such as life jackets, are in proper working condition.

Hazardous Waters
Water conditions are subject to constant change – sometimes within minutes. Boating operators should be mindful of changing tides, currents, waves, and wakes from other boats.

Never ignore weather alerts. Just as water conditions can rapidly change, so can weather and winds.

Types of Boating Accidents

Boating accidents can occur at anytime, anywhere, and for any reason. Here are some of the more common types of accidents in North Carolina:

  • Jet ski, wave runners, and other personal watercraft accidents
  • Water skiing accidents
  • Tubing accidents
  • Wakeboarding accidents
  • Wake surfing accidents
  • Dock collisions
  • Slips and falls
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Fire or explosion
  • Swimmers and skiers run over by watercraft

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident due to someone else's negligence or recklessness you could potentially recover:

  • Medical expenses, including hospitalization
  • Loss of wages and benefits
  • Permanent injury costs
  • Pain and suffering and emotional distress

Contact us, or call 1-866-900-7078 for a FREE case evaluation.