Boating Accidents: Play It Safe on the Water
South Carolina has an abundance of natural resources that make the Palmetto State a boater’s paradise. Along with the Intracoastal Waterway and the waters of the Atlantic, lakes, rivers, and harbors provide watercraft of all sizes opportunities for fun and recreation. Boating is no casual hobby; for many boaters, it’s a complete lifestyle, and the cost of keeping and maintaining a boat can get expensive. In addition to care and upkeep, boating education is important also. Knowing when and how to navigate in various bodies of water is critical for keeping yourself and everyone else safe. Unfortunately, boating accidents occur with frequent regularity, and injuries due to boating accidents can be severe and life threatening.
The U.S. Coast Guard works to reduce boating injuries and deaths by working with recreational boaters, through boater safety education, as well as by responding to emergency situations where boaters are in trouble. Last year, they reported over 4,000 recreational boating accidents, resulting in almost 1,000 deaths and close to 3,000 injuries, and causing $39 million in damages. The most frequent causes of boating accidents include:
- Inattention on the part of boat operators
- Improper lookout for other boats or obstacles
- Boat operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Navigation rules violations
- Force of wakes/creating large wakes, or wakes in no wake zones
- Alcohol use
According to the Coast Guard, excessive alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boat accidents. Frequent safety checks are conducted on South Carolina waterways, and if an officer thinks a boater is intoxicated, under South Carolina law the boater can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI).
Boating Safety Tips
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) urges residents and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors and all our state has to offer. As with any activity, the important thing is to play it safe by being aware of your surroundings and taking a few precautions. The SCDNR encourages locals and tourists alike to follow these safety tips for boaters:
- Let someone know you are going boating, and make sure your cellphone is charged and with you
- Stay aware of weather conditions. If high winds, waves, storms, or choppy seas are expected, don’t go out on the water
- Know the navigation aids and buoy system in the area you’ll be boating
- Be sure you know – and follow – all boating regulations
- Always anchor from the bow off the boat, and don’t forget to pull up your anchor before leaving
Of course, in addition to the above, don’t operate a boat if you are under the influence of alcohol or medication.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm today. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys know the serious, potentially life threatening injuries caused by these accidents. We will fight to hold responsible parties accountable and help you get the compensation you deserve. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, call us today for a free review of your case.