As the days get longer and the temperatures begin to warm from spring into summer, more and more of us will head to the waters of our state to enjoy time with friends and family. Though you may practice safety while on the water, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. Recreational boating is very popular and a lot of people own boats or will rent a recreational boat or a fishing charter. However, accidents on the water happen frequently, especially when people are having fun and letting their guard down. We have seen accidents from slip and falls to falling overboard, getting caught up in fishing gear or ropes, losing a finger or breaking a bone on a hatch. A swimmer can become the victim of a boating accident. Head injuries, traumatic brain injury and even death can occur on a recreational boat excursion.
The U.S. Coast Guard recorded 4,588 accidents including 758 deaths and 3,108 injuries from recreational boating accidents in 2012 culminating in over $52,000,000.00 in property damage.
In Georgia, there were over 15 deaths and over 100 injuries. You might think experience would make for safer boating, but 63% of those who died had over 100 hours of operator training, according to the state.
Federal statistics show about 90% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. The two most important things a recreational boat operator can do are:
- Wear a life jacket; and,
- Take some type of boating education course, including training in real world situations on the water.
Wearing the kill switch lanyard will allow the boat’s power to be killed if the operator is thrown into the water to avoid being cut by the propeller.
The most frequent cause of accidents on the water are careless operation, inattention, inexperience and the behavior of a passenger or skier. Alcohol plays a role in drowning deaths and deadly boating accidents. These are accidents that are entirely preventable.
There may also be occasions when a fishing charter boat owner is not a responsible professional who keeps his boat in good condition. If you are injured on a chartered fishing boat, Georgia law will allow you to be compensated in court by the negligent party to cover your medical expenses, rehabilitation and future care as well as time off work.
The attorneys at Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC. would like to consult with you on your boating accident injury. We are familiar with maritime law, a branch of the law that requires special expertise to navigate. Not only is the investigation process different than a case on dry land, but your experienced law firm must understand maritime personal injuries.