Articles Posted in Watercraft Accident

With summer approaching and the days getting longer, many throughout the Carolinas will be hitting the water as soon as the weekend arrives. Depending on where you live, this may mean taking a johnboat out on a local lake to fish for bass, using a Jet Ski or Wave Runner, or even heading far out into the ocean in a 40-foot cabin cruiser for some deep-sea fishing.

1343298_boat_water_trail.jpgWhile boating can be a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous, especially when proper safety precautions are not observed. According to a recent article for The Seattle Times, May is the most dangerous month for boaters. Part of the increase is due to the high numbers of boaters on the water. With that excitement to hit the water, there are often shortcuts taken with safety measures, which can result in serious personal injury or death.

This increase includes recreational boaters, as well as those using human-powered watercraft such as kayaks, as well as commercial fisherman, such as the shrimpers who take to the waters off the Carolinas when the weather gets warm, and crab boat fisherman who work to provide residents and others around the country with native blue claw crabs. While many do not know this fact, with the problems in the Chesapeake Bay, many of the crabs devoured in Maryland’s famous crab houses were shipped up from North Carolina and South Carolina.
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According to a recent report from WNCN, a man was killed in a boating accident in Lake Norman, North Carolina. Officials investigating the accident say victim was on his own boat, along with two passengers, during the fatal boating accident.

boating.jpgThe accident occurred around two in the morning, when the man was navigating the boat through a cove and accidentally crashed into a dock. Wildlife officers believe he was operating the boat at high speed, despite his close proximity to the dock. After hitting the dock, officers believe he was thrown from the boat into the water. It appears he was not aware of the dock, because it was dark, and he believed he was in a different position than his actual location at the time of the accident.
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Boating accidents can result in catastrophic and fatal injuries for victims. Unfortunately, many victims suffer because of preventable accidents involving the use of alcohol. A new law proposed by South Carolina legislators would require Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers to administer a breathalyzer test for all drivers involved in a boating accident. The law has been spearheaded by a mother who lost her 19-year-old daughter in a jet-ski accident in May. The mother of Millicent “Milli” McDonald is asking residents of South Carolina to sign the petition for what she would like to be called, “Milli’s Law.”

According to reports, the May accident occurred when a 26-year-old man and the victim were both riding personal watercrafts near the landing. The other man crashed into the victim who was airlifted from the scene, but never regained consciousness after the accident. The young victim was pronounced brain dead less than 24 hours after the collision. Though alcohol was suspected in the accident, the other driver was never tested. The watercraft collision occurred on May 19th and the victim was pronounced dead on May 20th. The man was charged with reckless homicide by watercraft and has two previous DUI charges, but was never given a breathalyzer after the accident. Some legislators are hoping to work a policy out directly with the Department of Natural Resources.
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Whitewater rafting has steadily gained popularity since the 1970s. It is an exciting and fun outdoor activity enjoyed by people across the nation. Unfortunately, on some occasions the fun can quickly turn to tragedy.

river-rafting-864944-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from the Johnson City Press, a North Carolina man has died in a rafting accident on the Ocoee River. The victim was on a rafting trip led by a professional guide when the raft flipped over on a rapid. He and five other occupants on the raft fell out of the raft.

After being pulled from the water farther down the river, he was unresponsive. He was taken to a local hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival. Authorities have not released a cause of death but noted that there were no apparent external injuries and that the victim was wearing a life jacket and helmet.
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Every year thousands of boat accidents cause injuries to passengers, jet skiers, swimmers and others out on the water. Preventing injury and accidents means being prepared and having a good knowledge of water and boat safety. This month, the U.S. Coast Guard will be offering boating safety classes in Charleston, South Carolina to prevent accidents and injuries.

On July 20, the U.S. Coast Guard will be hosting a boating class from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Daniel Island Library in Charleston. Our Charleston boating accident attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness about boater safety and helping drivers and passengers get the information they need to stay safe on the water this summer.


According to reports, the course is called About Boating Safety and is certified by the South Carolina DNR. Graduates who pursue the full training session will be granted a South Carolina Boater Education Card. Boating education can be useful to ensure that boaters know the law and that they follow regulations to prevent accidents and injuries.

Boating safety encompasses all aspects of being on the water. From preparation to boater operation and action to take in the event of emergency, boaters will be trained to prevent and react in the event of an emergency. If you are a boater, you should remember to follow speeds and other regulations while on the water. Make sure that you have size appropriate life vests for all of your passengers. Follow signs and signals and make sure that you use waterways fitting for your boat. If you are a fisherman in a smaller boat, be wary of larger boats and wakes. Similarly, large boats and speed boats should be concerned with less visible boats on the water. Drinking and boating is an obvious deadly combination that can lead to devastating accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

In the event of an accident, you should know appropriate emergency measures. Rescue efforts and contacting authorities can make a significant difference in the recovery of the victims. Boating accident injuries can be severe, including head injuries, neck injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries and drowning. Victims of boating accidents could be stuck with life-long injuries, including loss of mobility, paralysis, and permanent brain damage.

In the state of South Carolina, boaters under the age of 16 are required to pass an approved boater education course before operating a vehicle without supervision. This law applies to the operation of a personal watercraft (a.k.a. PWC) or motor powered boat with 5 horsepower or more. South Carolina residents or tourists who are interested in the course may sign up individually or as a family. The course costs $30 per person or $35 for up to six family members.

In the event of an accident, victims may be entitled to significant compensation. An experienced advocate can help to investigate a boating accident, identify responsible parties and protect your rights. The best way to prevent boating accidents and injuries is to know the law, and to stay safe on the water.
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it was a deadly weekend out there on our South Carolina coast. According to Independent Mail, authorities have found the body of a missing fisherman, but are still on the hunt for two more people after separate boating accidents in South Carolina Lowcountry.
The state of South Carolina has an abundance of water resources with 8,000 miles of river, 460,000 acres of lakes, and 3,000 miles of coastline.

Our Charleston boating accident lawyers understand that many residents and visitors look forward to hitting the open water and escaping the worries of life. Unfortunately, there are only more worried to be had on the water. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there were close to 100 recreational boating accidents recorded in the state of South Carolina in 2011. Among these accidents, there were close to 20 fatalities.

It’s important that boaters are up to speed with their boating safety before heading out on the water. Making a list, and check it twice, to help to prevent any boating mishaps.

On the Water:

-Check the weather before you head out.

-Make sure you’ve freshened up on your boating skills. Consider enrolling in a boater’s safety course. You can never be too good of a captain. Operator errors account for 70 percent of boating accidents — take a course.

-Make sure you understand how to navigate the waterways. It’s critical for you to understand the buoy system.

-Never operate a vessel under the influence of drugs of alcohol.

-Check the fire extinguisher on your vehicle. Make sure it’s working correctly before every time you venture out.

-Be on the lookout for overhead wires and power lines. This is especially important while traveling through canals and smaller bodies of water.

-Make sure that there are enough floatation devices in your vessel for every passenger on board.

-Make sure that all young children are wearing a life vest at all times.

-Before heading out, make sure that all of the lights on your vessel are working properly. You want to make sure you’re seen out there at all times.

-Make sure you always carry a cell phone with you when hitting the water.

-Remember that state law says that vessels may not be operated in excess of idle speed within 50 feet of an anchored vessel, wharf, pier, dock, or a person in the water. Vessels may not operate in excess of idle speed within 100 yards of the Atlantic coastline.

-Make sure you designate a skipper. You don’t want to be the only one on the boat who knows what they’re doing. Every captain can use a little help.

-If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety means knowing how to swim. Local organizations such as the American Red Cross and others offer training for all ages and abilities- check to see what classes are offered in your area.

-Get your boat checked. The United States Power Squadrons offer a free Vessel Safety Check (VSC). These boating safety equipment checks are meant to be educational and helpful, and are a good follow-up to any water safety course.
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Going on vacation to North Carolina provides the opportunity to enjoy many recreational activities. Unfortunately, some of these activities can be dangerous and a fun vacation event can sometimes cause injury or even turn deadly.

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys encourage visitors to the state to be cautious when engaging in risky activities. This means participating in tours and trips only with reputable tour operators and considering the inherent dangers of any recreational activity before participating during your vacation. 956448_parasailling.jpg

Parasailing: A Dangerous Pastime

On Ocean Isle Beach, parasailing is a popular activity for adventure-seeking tourists. Unfortunately, for two women vacationing in the area in August of 2009, their parasailing trip ended in disaster. While the women were parasailing, a strong wind blew up. The wind snapped the line that connected the parasail to the tow-boat, Tied High. The women plummeted into the ocean and were dragged toward the town’s fishing pier. Unfortunately, the News Observer reports that the incident resulted in the death of both women from blunt force trauma.

The captain operating the boat pled guilty to maritime negligence. The incident was attributed to his failure to check the weather prior to going out on the ocean, a failure that was considered to be unreasonable in its carelessness.

Other Risks for Tourists
While this incident was tragic, parasailing is not the only potentially dangerous activity that tourists partake in. Boating, jet skiing, biking, hiking and even driving a car on unfamiliar roads can all be dangerous to visitors to North Carolina.

Visit NC reported that an estimated 36.8 million people visited North Carolina in 2010 and that some of the top reasons for the visits included:

  • Going to state and national parks
  • Hiking or backpacking
  • Nature travel
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Visiting beaches
  • Fresh or salt water fishing
  • Biking

All of these activities can be dangerous, especially with an inexperienced or careless guide.

Suffering an Injury When on Vacation
Being injured far away from home presents many complications to visitors. Often, you’ll need to get treatment at local hospitals, especially for serious injury, and it may be several days or weeks before you are well enough to leave the hospital. This means it may be difficult for you to travel home immediately and you may be far from friends and family who can provide you with the support so often vital to recovery.

There may also be complications associated with making a claim against the person responsible for causing the injury. If you are harmed by a North Carolina tour operator or a driver within the state of North Carolina, you need to take legal action within the state — you cannot just go back to where you are from and file a lawsuit.

We understand the challenges inherent in seeking recovery on behalf of out-of-state victims and each member of our team is dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of you and your family.
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Blair Holliday, a star football player for Duke, was recent injured in a jet ski accident at Lake Tillery. Holliday remains in critical condition at Chapel Hill.

According to the boating accident reports, it all happened when one of his teammate’s jet skis slammed into Holliday’s. According to the assistant director for sports information at Duke, Art Chase, the accident remains under investigation. Local emergency response teams responded to the accident at roughly 5:00 p.m.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Blair, his parents, Leslie and Rick, and the entire Holliday family,” David Cutcliffe, Duke football coach.

Our Charlotte accident attorneys understand that there were nearly 5,000 boating accidents that took the lives of nearly 800 people and injured another 3,100 just in 2011 in the U.S.

These accidents totaled more than $50 million in property damage. The fatality rate jumped nearly 15 percent from the previous year. This increase is surprising considering that there was a decrease in the total number of registered watercraft from 2010. The problem is that most people think that they can swim well enough to avoid a potentially fatal accident, but the truth of the matter is that in these kinds of situations, our brain doesn’t think clearly and shock and panic take hold. It’s important to keep safety as a number one priority on the water, regardless of what kind of watercraft you’re in.

Of these boating accidents, about 70 percent were the result of drowning-related fatalities. Nearly 85 percent of accident victims were not wearing a left jacket when the accident occurred, according to Boating Safety Resource Center. The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (19%) and motorboats (14%).

If you enjoy being on the water, we encourage you to enroll in a boating class and get some formal education. It can be the key to keeping you out of a potentially fatal accident. As a matter of fact, only about 10 percent of boating fatalities happened on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.

About 80 percent of the people who were killed in a drowning accident on the water in 2011 were using vessels that were less than 21 feet long.

Why do boating accidents happen?

-Excessive Speed
-Operator Inexperience
-Improper Lookout
-Machinery Failure

If you’re planning on bringing out your young ones with you, you’re going to want to keep an extra close eye on them. According to 2011 statistics, nearly 20 kids under the age of 15-years-old died in boating-related accidents across the U.S. Of these fatalities, about 60 percent of the children drowned. Nearly 80 percent of these victims were in fact wearing a life jacket, as required for these young ones by federal law.

Alcohol consumption is the number one cause of fatal boating accidents in the U.S. As a matter of fact, it was leading as the leading factor in nearly 20 percent of fatalities.
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During a recent boating accident in Hendersonville, a 50-year-old Carolina man drowned. While boating in Lake Osceola, the man’s canoe capsized and he was unable to swim to shore. His fiancée made it out alive but he was not as fortunate.

Officials point out that this is the third lake drowning that has happened in Western North Carolina this year, according to the Citizen-Times. The accident happened at about 4:00 p.m. on a 12-acre lake located just south of the city of Hendersonville. The two were in town visiting from Greenville, South Carolina.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Office’s Capt. Frank Stout says that he man tried to swim ashore but never made it. Witnesses say that they saw him go under the water just once. He never made it back up.

Our Hendersonville injury attorneys understand that it’s that time of year again — that time when residents and visitors head out to our waterways to enjoy some fun in the sun. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when we see an alarming number of boating accidents. In the state, wearing a life jacket isn’t required by law but all boater’s are still encouraged to do so. Life jackets may be a boater’s best defense in the event of a watercraft accident.

Officers are still investigating the boating accident to see if the man’s health played a factor, or if there were other factors that played a role.

The state’s boating law requires each vessel to have one life jacket present for each person that’s on the boat. The canoe involved in the accident didn’t have any life jackets on board. Also under state law, children under the age of 13-years-old are required to wear a life jacket at all times. Lastly, those who are operating a personal watercraft, regardless of how old they are, must wear a life jacket.

When the canoe came ashore it was still swamped with water. Officials say that they found a wine cooler and a beer nearby. Both of them were half empty.

There hasn’t been any word released yet as to whether or not alcohol played a role in the accident. Officials say that the autopsy will be conducted to figure that out.

The couple was in a boat from the Mountain Lake Inn. Hotel guests are permitted to use the kayaks and the boats from the Inn, but are warned to do so at their own risk. There was also a sign near the boats that stated that boat users had to make sure that there were enough life jackets on the boat to account for each passenger.

Other drowning accidents, victims not wearing life jackets, in Western North Carolina in 2012:

-April 7th: Fontana Lake, 56-years-old.

-March 19th: Lake Hiwassee, 55-years-old.

Every year, there are about 20 fatal boating accidents across the state. Most of these fatalities are the result of drowning accidents.
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There were two unfortunate and deadly boating accidents in Western North Carolina that act as a tragic reminder of the beginning of boating season and the importance of boating safety!

According to the Citizen-Times, boating experts would like to take this time to remind all boaters to wear a life vest during every trip on the water. One simple safety precaution can help to save your life and the lives of your passengers in the event of a boating accident. Be prepared, have a plan and keep life jackets around.
The boating accident on Lake Hiwassee happened when the boat capsized. There were only two people on the boat when it flipped. The boat didn’t sink, but when one of the boaters tried to swim to shore, she failed. The other boating accident happened on Fontana Lake. That boat capsized as well. Two of the boaters were able to be rescued. One wasn’t so lucky.

According to a spokesman for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s law enforcement division, Geoff Cantrell, neither of the boaters who drowned in the accidents was wearing a life jacket when the boats capsized.

Our North Carolina boating accident lawyers understand that safety should be everyone’s first priority on the water this season! Swimming ashore from a capsized boat is a lot tougher than you think.

“Accidents happen quickly on the water, and having a life jacket on can save valuable time,” said Cantrell.

Across the state, there are roughly 20 fatal downing accidents that happen every year. Most of these accidents involve drownings.

According to national statistics, nearly 80 percent of all fatal boating accidents involve drowning boaters. Of these drownings, nearly 90 percent were not wearing life vests.

It’s not just boaters that need to wear their life jacket either. It’s also the kayak and canoe riders that need to wear a life jacket, too. Sounds silly, but jackets can save lives, regardless of vessel.

It’s like going out without a helmet. If you’re riding a bicycle or a motorcycle on our roadways, your risks for brain injury in the event of an accident skyrocket if you’re not wearing a helmet. It’s the same thing on the water, except with a life jacket. Any boating expert will tell you, it doesn’t matter how good of a swimmer you are, everyone needs a life jacket.

According to state law, both teens and adults are required to have life jackets readily accessible for each passenger on a boat. That includes kayaks, canoes and motorboats. Boaters who are under the age of 13 are required to wear a vest at all times. Someone operating a personal watercraft, regardless of how old, is required to wear a life jacket at all times.
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