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Boating Accident FAQs

Boating Accidents

If I’m involved in a boat accident, what should I do?

If anyone is seriously injured, seek medical attention immediately. After assessing the situation, decide if you need to call your insurance company due to injury or extensive property damage. If a person’s neglect was the reason for the accident, you may want to contact a Raleigh boating accident attorney.

Under what circumstances do I need to file a boating accident report and is there a time frame in which I have to file the report?

From the 2007 US Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics Report:

Under federal regulations (33 CFR Part 173; Subpart C – Casualty and Accident Reporting) the operator of any numbered vessel that was not required to be inspected or a vessel that was used for recreational purposes is required to file a Boating Accident Report (BAR) when, as a result of an occurrence that involves the vessel or its equipment:

  1. A person dies; or
  2. A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury; or
  3. A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid; or
  4. Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more; or
  5. There is a complete loss of any vessel.

If the above conditions are met, the federal regulations state that the operator or owner must report their accident to a reporting authority. The reporting authority can be either in the state where the accident occurred, the state in which the vessel was numbered, or, if the vessel does not have a number, the state where the vessel was principally used. The owner must submit the report if the operator is deceased or unable to make the report.

The regulations also state the acceptable length of time in which the accident report must be submitted to the reporting authority. Vessel operators or owners must submit:

  1. Accident reports within 48 hours of an occurrence if:
    1. A person dies within 24 hours of the occurrence; or
    2. A person requires medical treatment beyond first aid; or
    3. A person disappears from the vessel.
  2. Accident reports within 10 days of an occurrence if there is damage to the vessel / property only.

The minimum reporting requirements are set by Federal regulation, but states are allowed to have stricter requirements. For example, some states have a lower threshold for reporting damage to vessels and other property.

If I’ve been in an accident should I consult with an attorney?

Yes. Laws that apply to injuries on or around water are very complex. You may need someone that is experienced to help you analyze everything that happened and decide if you have a case to pursue. Contact a Wake County boating accident lawyer at Hardison & Cochran today.

Is Carbon Monoxide a risk with boating?

Yes. Engines, gas generators, cooking ranges, space heaters, and water heaters are all sources of carbon monoxide. If there is little to no ventilation the colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas may cause death. Early symptoms include irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness, and dizziness. Many times it is mistaken for seasickness.

What are common boating accident contributing factors?

Operator inattention, careless / reckless operation, passenger / skier behavior, excessive speed, and alcohol involvement are the top five situations that lead to a boating accident.

For more information on safe boating, please see our Safety & Information page.

Are there safety measures that I can take to prevent an accident?

  • Wear a life jacket and make sure everyone on the vessel has one available to them
  • Don’t drink alcohol or be under the influence of drugs while boating
  • Seek out boating safety classes in your area
  • Regularly check your safety equipment to make sure it is properly functioning
  • Be alert to the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Be aware of others on or around the waterway while operating your boat

For more information on safe boating, please see our Safety & Information page.

Is there a type of boat that is involved in casualty more frequently?

Yes. Open motorboats and personal water crafts (jet skis) are involved more frequently than any other type of boat.

For more information on boating accidents, please see our NC Boating Accidents Stats page.

How common are boating accident fatalities?

In 2007, more than 650 deaths occurred in the US due to boating accidents.

For more information on boating accidents, please see our NC Boating Accidents Stats page.

What age group has the highest incidence of boating fatalities?

From the 2007 US Coast Guard report the 40-49 year old age range have the highest number of deaths.

For more information on boating accidents, please see our Boating Accidents Stats page.

What are the most frequent types of boating accidents?

According to the 2007 US Coast Guard report on recreation boating collision with another vessel, collision with fixed object, skier mishap, falls overboard, and capsizing are the top five most frequent accidents.

For more information on boating accidents, please see our Boating Accidents Stats page.

Do boating accidents cause a lot of financial damage?

In 2007 the US Coast Guard reported total damages of boating accidents at $53.1 million.

For more information on boating accidents, please see our Boating Accidents Stats page.

What is the maximum blood alcohol concentration while operating a boat?

Exactly like the laws on the road the BAC limit is .08. State law allows for a boater to be charged if he is “appreciably impaired” in the opinion of the officer. This holds true even though one’s BAC may be below .08.

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