As the weather warms, Georgia’s lakes, streams and waterways will fill with enthusiasts looking for fun boating opportunities. In Georgia alone, there are more than 317,000 registered vessels. While boating can be fun, there are also safety concerns that need to be addressed when using watercraft. Speeding, reckless operation, alcohol use and bad weather can all lead to serious injuries or an accidental drowning on the water.
In 2013, there were more than a hundred boating accidents, some that even caused fatalities according to a wildlife commission report. Because of the risks involved in boating, Georgia law requires boat operators to take certain precautions to keep themselves and their passengers safe.
Safety tips to reduce risks of boating accidents
• Avoid alcohol while boating! Since a boat is considered a vehicle, you can be charged with boating under the influence if you exceed the legal limit.
• Check the weather forecast before heading out for a boat trip.
• Keep your boat under the maximum capacity. Overloaded boats can be dangerous.
• Keep a floatation device for each passenger on board.
• Complete a course on boating safety. You can find out more information about the Georgia Boater Education Certificate here. https://www.boat-ed.com/georgia/
• Inspect your boat from stem to stern before you head out.
• Be cautious of propeller safety, especially if children are on board.
• Keep a fire extinguisher on your boat; you may need to put out a fire, even on the water.
How an attorney can protect your rights
If you’ve been injured as a result of another’s negligence on the water, or a loved one was hurt or killed, contact an experienced boat accident attorney.
If you were injured, we can examine the accident and determine liability. The operator may have been drinking or acting recklessly. In some cases, a defective product or equipment failure may be a contributing factor. We thoroughly gather evidence and collect witness statements in pursuing a boating accident lawsuit.
According to the Georgia Boating Handbook, an operator involved in a boating accident must:
-Stop the vessel immediately at the scene of the accident and assist anyone injured or in danger from the accident – unless doing so would seriously endanger his own vessel or passengers
-Give in writing, your name, address, and vessel ID to anyone injured and to the owner of any property damaged by the accident.
In the case of a reportable accident, the operator must file an accident report form supplied by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
How a boating accident attorney can help
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of another’s negligence on the water, you may be entitled to compensation. The negligent party may be responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, as well as other financial and possibly emotional damages. If the accident was caused by a defective product or equipment failure, you may be entitled to a product liability case. Let an Atlanta boating accident lawyer help determine who is at fault in your accident. Call Bryce Angell today at (770) 217-4954. Get an Angell on your side!