According to U.S. Coast Guard data, these are the most common causes of boating accidents:
- Collision with recreational vessel
- Collision with fixed object
- Swamping or flooding
- Falls overboard
The following factors often contribute to the scenarios listed above:
- Operator inattention
- Inadequate lookout
- Lack of operator experience
- Machinery failure
- Alcohol consumption
- Wave/wake force
- Weather conditions
- Navigation rule violation
- Dangerous waters
The most common cause of death in boating accidents is drowning, with nearly 80% of victims not wearing life vests. And while some accidents occur outside of boat operators’ control, many are preventable.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends taking these precautions when boating on intracoastal waterways, lakes, rivers or oceans:
- Always wear a life jacket.
Make sure that every occupant wears a properly-fitting life jacket at all times.
- Never drink and operate a boat.
Boating under the influence is incredibly dangerous, with alcohol contributing to 16% of deaths, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Take a free boating education course.
These classes, offered by the Department of Natural Resources, are a great way to learn more about safely operating and navigating a boat.
- Get your vessel inspected before boating season starts.
Vessel safety checks are free to the public and ensure your boat is functioning properly.
After a boat crash, remain calm and follow these steps:
1. Think safety first.
Get everyone on board (if the boat is stable and safe) and assess if anyone needs medical attention. If so, call for help immediately.
2. Move your boat to safety.
If possible, move out of the way of other boaters to avoid further damage.
3. Call the Coast Guard.
Let them know your location and if anyone needs immediate medical treatment.
4. Exchange information if another vessel is involved.
Make sure to get the other boater’s insurance and contact information.
5. Document the scene.
Take pictures of damage to your boat and be sure to get photo evidence of injuries and the surrounding scene as well – including the other boat. This is especially important if there’s evidence that the other boat operator was boating under the influence.
6. Visit a doctor.
Even if you weren’t injured on the water and feel fine, it’s a good idea to get checked out by your doctor within a few days of the accident.
Once you’re safely on land, contact a boating accident attorney. Due to the intricacy of maritime laws, it’s crucial to choose a law firm with experience handling South Carolina boating accident cases. Gathering evidence and proving that another boater was to blame can be difficult, so trust a team with a record of results.
If you’ve been injured in a boat, we’ll fight to secure the compensation you deserve – and to provide the compassionate approach and much-needed support you need. Here at David Taylor Law, our highly-qualified team is familiar with local boating regulations and is equipped to handle your personal injury case.
If you’ve been hurt in a boating accident in South Carolina, contact David Taylor Law today to schedule your free consultation.