In Bartow County on Lake Allatoona on July 5, 2014 after the Fireworks show at the Allatoona Yacht Club at approximately 11:30 p.m. the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ (GADNR) Law Enforcement Division responded to a boat crash. Five (5) people were injured and one was a four month old infant . Two boats were involved in the crash; 1.) A Maxum Cabin Cruiser; and 2.) A Chaparral Ski Boat.
Witnesses at the scene indicated that the ski boat hit the cabin cruiser from behind, and then went up and over the boat. The person operating the cabin cruiser was the most injured. There were only minor injuries to the other four people, including the infant. It was determined that the driver of the ski boat was impaired and was, therefore, arrested and charged with Boating Under the Influence.
To deter further incidents such as the case in point, and as stated above, Boating Under the Influence is now also being treated more like Driving Under the Influence with the same or similar penalties. Just as driving a car or other motor vehicle under the influence, driving a boat under the influence cause serious injuries or death.
As I have discussed in my other blog posts on boat injuries, boating can be very dangerous and can cause serious injury and even death. After the famous singer Usher’s son was killed in a boating incident, Georgia put into effect a new Mandatory Boating Education Law beginning July 1, 2014 requiring all individuals born on or after January 1, 1998 that operate any motorized vessel on the waters of the state of Georgia must have first successfully completed a boat education course approved by the GADNR prior to such boating operation.
A person is exempt from this new law only if he or she is:
1.) Is already licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Master of a Vessel;
2.) Is operating the vessel on a Private Lake or Pond;
3.) Is a Non-Resident of Georgia who has Proof that he or she has Completed a NASBLA Approved Boater Education Course or its Equivalent from another State.
The GADNR also offers many other educational courses on boating and many topics, as well as field trips, as well as the mandatory course that is discussed above.
Although we have the 4th of July behind us this year, we still have many hot, steamy days left in Georgia and much boating activity will take place on all the major lakes as well as the smaller lakes. If we all follow proper safety measures, including, but not limited to, not driving while intoxicated, then we can all reduce the risk of injury or death to ourselves and others while on the water.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we are committed to Boating Safety so everyone can enjoy some fun in the sun. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident, then please Contact Us for your free consultation. Everyone should be allowed to enjoy the water safely.