The Carolinas are a fantastic place for boating, from the beautiful Outer Banks and Atlantic Coast to the rivers and lakes in the eastern areas of our region. However, the people operating boats have a responsibility to do so carefully. If they are reckless or negligent in their actions, serious accidents and injuries often result.
Boating accident statistics and causes
There were 166 boating accidents in North Carolina in 2015—and 21 of those accidents resulted in at least one fatality. There were another 123 boating accidents in South Carolina that same year.
The following are some of the most common factors leading to these accidents:
- Operating while impaired: More than half of all fatal boating accidents have been tied to alcohol consumption, according to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Just like with motor vehicles, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content level above .08 percent. Operating while intoxicated or impaired puts passengers and other boaters at risk.
- Excessive speeds: When boaters go too fast, it becomes more difficult them to recognize and avoid possible hazards. Boats also do not have brakes, and so operators are unable to stop quickly to avoid an accident like they might in a motor vehicle. Taking it slow reduces the risk of an accident occurring.
- Equipment failure: Another common issue leading to boat accidents is malfunctioning equipment. All boat owners should make sure their vessels are in the best condition possible, performing regular maintenance and addressing any equipment problems before heading out on the water.
- Inclement weather: The weather can change quickly in our region, especially during hurricane season. All boaters should be aware of the weather forecast and head back to the dock if rain, heavy winds or other poor weather conditions are present.
The injuries that result from boating accidents tend to vary in scope and severity. In more serious cases, they may include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, fractures and ligament damage. Many of these issues could lead to long-term medical conditions that impact the victims’ quality of life or lead to death. To that end, reckless boat operators and other negligent parties must be held accountable for their actions.
Work with an experienced boating accident injury lawyer
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a boating accident, you may have legal options. Learn more by speaking with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at Wallace Childers PLLC, serving injured people in North Carolina and South Carolina. For an initial consultation, please contact us online today.