Recreational boating in South Carolina is not as predictable as the roads, which have traffic signs and signals and a mostly undynamic surface to minimize collisions. Many people, novice and experienced boaters, end up in accidents on their watercrafts due to recklessness, poor judgment and other factors.
With proper precautions, boating can be a safe and fun activity for the entire family. Just like car accidents, boating incidents can occur unexpectedly regardless of skill and equipment. The potential for catastrophic events that result in people ending up overboard, drowning and hurt by other objects is always present. To minimize the risk of recreational boating and watercraft accidents and injuries, here is a brief breakdown of boating regulations every boater should know.
Boating education and licensing are mandatory
All boat operators 16 years and older must complete a state-approved boating education course and pass testing to receive a boating license. Though it is a legal requirement, not everyone abides by it.
Coastguard-approved personal floatation protection equipment is mandatory for everyone aboard boats. Personal protection devices must fit and be in good operational condition. Boat operators are also responsible for outfitting their vehicles with flares, fire extinguishers and additional criteria, depending on the type of boating activity and craft.
Steps to take in an accident
In the event of a boating accident, it is important to notify the authorities right away. The water can be very unpredictable at times, and even the smallest boating emergency can escalate into a more serious and unfortunate incident.
Immediate medical attention is also wise, even if there are no apparent signs of injury. The human body is fragile and can sustain internal trauma and additional hidden or delayed injuries that can lead to the need for intensive and ongoing medical care.
Some boating events are not solely the result of malfunctioning equipment or adverse boating or water conditions. Operator negligence may also play a part. Boating accident victims and surviving family members in a boating accident might qualify to file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for damages and injuries.