Safe At Sea: Boating Accidents

There’s nothing like a fun day on the water, but a painful sunburn isn’t the only risk facing boaters this summer. Boating accidents are all too common here in South Carolina, claiming about 30 lives each year.

Accidents that occur on the water differ from those on the road, governed instead by maritime laws. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, it’s important to find an attorney who understands the specific regulations and maritime laws at play.

The boating accident attorneys at West Law Firm are equipped to determine who was at fault. If someone else was responsible for your accident, our experienced team will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.

Boating Safety Tips

While not every boating accident can be prevented, there are certain precautions and best practices that can help keep you on the water and out of harm’s way.

Keep these simple boating tips in mind:

  • Wear a life vest that fits properly at all times.
  • Never drink and operate a boat.
  • Check the forecast before heading out onto the water.
  • Brush up on navigation rules to avoid collisions with other vessels.
  • Take a safety course.
  • Learn the dangers of the carbon monoxide that’s produced by your boat’s engine.
  • Make sure your boat is in good working order with a free vessel safety check.
  • Stay hydrated and learn the symptoms of heat-related illness.

South Carolina boating laws require that each boat is stocked with the following gear:

  • Life vests for each passenger
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Navigational lights
  • Portable life rings
  • Flares
  • Whistles

Keep in mind that failure to have these items on hand is not only dangerous, but is considered negligence.

Common Causes of Boating Accidents

Whether your plans include island hopping, fishing or just cruising, no boater leaves the dock with an accident on their agenda. But time and time again, boating accidents are the unfortunate result of these circumstances:

  • Use of alcohol or drugs while driving a boat
  • Speeding
  • Failure to wear a life vest or utilize other safety equipment
  • Faulty/poorly-maintained equipment
  • Failure to keep a proper lookout

What to Do After an Accident On the Water

If you’re involved in a boating accident, follow these steps:

  • Determine if anyone needs medical attention.
  • If it’s safe, get any passengers who have fallen overboard back in the boat.
  • Move the boat out of the way to avoid a collision with another vessel if possible.
  • Perform first aid.
  • Call the Coast Guard and give them relevant information (location, injuries, etc).
  • Get the contact information of witnesses or other parties involved.
  • See a doctor even if you don’t think you’re injured.

Getting Help After Your Accident

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident in Berkeley County or anywhere in the Lowcountry, West Law Firm can help. Our team will work hard to defend your rights, and to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call 843-761-5626 or click here to schedule your free consultation at our Moncks Corner, SC office.


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