Lake Norman Boaters at Risk for Accidents

We posted previously on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog that boating accidents occur at a high rate in our state, especially on Lake Norman.

North Carolina ranked in the Top 9 in three categories in 2010: boating accidents, injuries and fatalities. This isn’t a statistic for which we should be proud.
Greensboro injury lawyers want to remind everyone that as the height of boating season comes to a close this summer, safety precautions should not take a back seat in order to avoid a boating accident injury in Charlotte or worse, a drowning.

Davidson reports that boaters are concerned about their safety with the number of renters causing accidents while using North Carolina lakes and waterways. The Lake Norman Marine Commission, which consists of 5 members in bordering counties, are considering changing rules on the popular lake to improve safety and reduce the risk of avoidable accidents by inexperienced boat operators.

The members of the committee will look at requiring renters to become certified or get a license before they drive a boat. A boating accident last June that seriously injured a Charlotte woman, who was backed over by a rental boat driver, has caused concern for those who regularly use Lake Norman.

At a recent meeting, the question was posed to Commission officials of what could be done to improve safety by stating “It appears there’s a growing number of inexperienced (boaters) on the lake,” said Colin Furcht, a recreational boater. “That … impacts those of us that do have that experience and try to be as safe as possible.”

The Commission has been given the go-ahead by its attorney to draft new rules which would make changes to previous legislation. The question really becomes is this a Lake Norman problem or a state problem that would require lobbying to state representatives for tougher boating laws throughout North Carolina.

Marine commission chairman Paul Carter replied “The challenge of that (existing) law is there’s a ton of loopholes.”

The last three years, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has reported a minimum of 154 boating accidents statewide. Each of the last two years, there has been no fewer than 21 deaths as a result of these accidents. Lake Norman reported 11 boating accidents in 2010, 12 accidents in 2009 and 21 accidents in 2008.

The number of people taking a boating education course in North Carolina jumped from 4,363 in 2008 to over 31,000 in 2010. We wonder whether the number shouldn’t be higher given the fact that the number of registered boaters reached levels upwards of 368,000 in 2009.

Whether new legislation takes effect or not, no boat operator should take to a body of water without being educated and exhibiting a certain amount of confidence in controlling a boat. Many factors can attribute to losing control so get the proper training to reduce the risk of injury to you or another boater.

If you or a loved one has been seriously or fatally injured in a boating accident in North Carolina, contact the boat accident attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. For a free and confidential appointment call 1-800-887-1965 today.

Additional Resources:

New rules in the works for Lake Norman boat renters, by David Boraks, Davidson

North Carolina Boating Accidents a High Risk for Injury During Summer Watercraft Season, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 9, 2011

Recurring Incidents in Beaufort Inlet Present a High Risk of Diving Accidents for North Carolina Divers, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 9, 2011

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