Recent Boating Accident Reminds Boaters Of The Dangers Encountered On The Water


June 06, 2017

As summer approaches, more and more people will take to the water in their boats. Whether it is off the Georgia coastline or on one of Georgia's ponds or lakes, boaters must be aware of the dangers they could encounter on the open water. It is easy to forget that situations can quickly spiral out of control and what was once a fun afternoon in the sun can turn tragic in an instant. Therefore, it is imperative that boaters take every precaution to protect themselves and their passengers.

One need not look any further than this past April to be reminded of how dangerous boating can be. A 46-year-old father was lost in a Rockdale County lake after his boat sank, according to WSB-TV. The man was an accomplished boater and fisherman. He, his son, and a friend were out on the lake in a boat fishing when the boat's battery died. The man called another friend for assistance with a new battery. That battery also failed. Shortly after that, the man's boat began taking on water and sank. The man disappeared with the boat. The man's son and his friend made it to shore alive. It appears that the man was not wearing a life jacket when he went into the water. Law enforcement and fire rescue teams responded in force to try to save the man. Unfortunately, he was not found despite the use of an aquatic robot, sonar, and air surveillance from a helicopter.

Also in April, a jet skier died in a crash with a bass boat on Lake Lanier in North Forsyth County. The jet ski and bass boat collided around 8:30 p.m. The boater was uninjured, but the jet skier was thrown from the personal watercraft and went into the water. Twilight had passed by that point. Notwithstanding, authorities began to search for the jet skier.

Authorities found the body of the 34-year-old jet skier the following day, according to 11 Alive News. Fire rescue and law enforcement also used a helicopter, sonar, and an aquatic robot to search for the missing man. Authorities did not find the man until nearly 24 hours after the crash that claimed his life. In the aftermath of the crash, law enforcement officers from Georgia's Department of Natural Resources used this latest tragedy as an example of what can happen when boaters disregard safety precautions. A law enforcement spokesman from the Department of Natural Resources reminded boaters to wear life jackets and have one life jacket of the appropriate size onboard for each person on the boat. Also, boaters must have their running lights and navigational lights on at night. Jet skis do not have navigational lights and therefore cannot be operated after sunset in Georgia. The officer also urged boaters always to be aware of your surroundings.

Georgia has a comprehensive set of boating safety laws. Those laws prohibit unsafe or dangerous operation as well as operating a boat or other craft while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Also, Georgia law requires the operator of a vessel to stop and render aid to any boater or swimmer in distress unless doing so would endanger the lives and safety of the boaters. Boaters must know the navigational rules before taking to the water. Additionally, every person on the water must wear a life vest or have immediate access to one if in a boat and must wear a life jacket if on a jet ski. The failure to observe these rules and regulations could result in criminal and civil liability.

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Sources:
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/family-says-beloved-father-missing-after-boating-accident/501862843
http://www.11alive.com/news/local/body-of-jet-skier-missing-after-bass-boat-accident-on-lake-lanier-recovered/430323577
http://www.georgiawildlife.org/boating/regulations

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

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Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.