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Boating Accidents in South Carolina

June 9, 2016

While Aiken may not share the same beachfront access as many towns on the coast of South Carolina do, there are still many individuals from Aiken County who own boats and enjoy spending time on the water during the summer months. With Langley Pond in Aiken County, and Lake Murray only about an hour drive away, boating for residents of Aiken County is a popular summer pastime. Unfortunately, what many people don’t realize is that a boating accident can be just as serious as a car accident, if not more so. An accident on the water can lead to serious injuries or death.  In 2014, there were 124 boating accidents reported in South Carolina, which resulted in 13 people dying.  


Why are boating accidents dangerous?

Unlike while driving a motor vehicle, many more people tend consume alcoholic beverages on the water. People are well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, however, these same people may be less careful when it comes to operating a boat under the influence. Almost half of all boating accidents involve alcohol. A coast guard officer can stop a South Carolina boater if they believe the operator of a boat to be materially and appreciably impaired. There is an additional risk of drowning that is associated with boating accidents. On the roads, after a car accident, in most scenarios the danger is greatly reduced after initial impact. However, after impact in the water, the danger of injury increases because it is difficult to swim or tread water with a serious injury. It also is more difficult for a rescue to take place from the water.


What are the penalties for boating under the influence?

In South Carolina, if an intoxicated boated causes great bodily injury, which is injury that creates a risk of death or permanent disfigurement, penalties may be as high as $10,000 and 15 years in jail.  Additionally, there may be federal penalties as high as $5,000 and jail time for operating a boat while intoxicated. 


What are common types of boating accidents?

Boating accidents can result from collisions with another boat or collisions with a stationary object like a pier or rocks that are below the surface. Unlike driving on the road, where on a clear day the hazards are readily apparent, it is often the case that hazards in a lake or river are only covered by a few inches of water. A rock that could cause serious injury or death may be hidden from plain sight.


Have you been in a boating accident?

If you have been in a boating accident, you should seek medical attention right away, even if you believe your injuries are insignificant. These minor injuries can cause long term problems if not appropriately treated.  Additionally, as soon as possible you should consult with an experienced accident attorney in South Carolina to help with protecting your rights. Surasky Law Firm has the experience helping individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents. Contact us today at (803)-593-3912.


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