Grab your sea captain’s hat because boating season is here!
The trailers and boats are out of storage and a detailed polish is underway before ripping through the open water. Thousands of Georgians will be hitting the lake or ocean this summer and we want to ensure you keep your loved ones safe.
An executive study done by the United States Coast Guard revealed that in 2014 there were an estimated 4,064 accidents on the water. This resulted in 610 lives lost, 2,678 individuals being injured and over $39 million of damage to property due – all due to recreational boating.
Unfortunately, fatality rates have only increased in recent years at 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered vessels. The number of accidents from 2013-2014 increased by 0.05% and the number of deaths increased by 8.9%.
Recreational boating is meant to be relaxing and fun. However, when safety isn’t a priority, lives are at risk for injury and death. Far too often, boat operators are distracted by passengers, boating while under the influence of alcohol (BUI) or misjudged the amount of room they had between vessels.
In the state of Georgia, boat operators involved in an accident must report the incident immediately if the accident involves:
- Death or the disappearance of a person from a boat under circumstances that indicate death or injury;
- Injury requiring first aid or medical attention; or
- Property damage exceeding $2000 to all boats, docks, etc. involved in the accident.
In the event of a reportable accident, the operator/owner must file an accident report form which is supplied by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Most reports of accidents must be made within 5 days of the accident. However, you must report an accident within 48 hours if:
- A person dies within 24 hours as a result of the accident
- A person is disabled for more than 24 hours
- A person requires medical treatment for injuries
- A person disappears from a boat or PWC
The consequences in boating accidents can be severe to all parties involved. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident, we encourage you to contact our law office immediately. We have a No Fee Guarantee and we will work tirelessly to seek the justice you and your loved ones deserve. In the meantime, have fun and be safe on the water this summer!