Boating Accidents


The Augusta area offers great opportunities for cooling off in the water during the sweltering summer months. We have plenty of water in the area, including Clarks Hill Lake for bass fishing and the Augusta Canal and Lake Olmstead for kayaking. Unfortunately, wherever there is boating, there are boating accidents. In 2020 in Georgia, there were five boating accidents causing two deaths, seven injuries, and $134,000 in damages reported by the U.S. Coast Guard.

What Are the Most Common Types of Boating Accidents?

People can be injured on the water in all types of vessels, in any number of ways. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the top five boating accident types in 2020 were:

  • Collision with a recreational vehicle: 1379 accidents causing 66 deaths and 831 injuries.
  • Flooding/swamping: 589 accidents causing 84 deaths and 128 injuries.
  • Collision with a fixed object: 542 accidents causing 62 deaths and 389 injuries.
  • Grounding: 484 accidents causing 14 deaths and 255 injuries.
  • Falls overboard: 335 accidents causing 181 deaths and 161 injuries.

Why Do Boating Accidents Happen?

In the U.S. in 2020, the Coast Guard reports 5,265 boating accidents, 767 fatalities, and 3,191 injuries. People may be injured for a number of reasons, including equipment failure or the weather. In many cases, boating accidents are caused by some type of operator error. It can have disastrous consequences when operators are inexperienced or inattentive, or when alcohol or drugs are mixed with boating.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the top 10 primary factors contributing to the most accidents in 2020 were:

  • Operator inattention (664 accidents, 55 deaths, 383 injuries)
  • Operator inexperience (612 accidents, 56 deaths, 343 injuries)
  • Improper lookout (578 accidents, 28 deaths, 409 injuries)
  • Excessive speed (418 accidents, 32 deaths, 345 injuries)
  • Machinery failure (373 accidents, 19 deaths, 151 injuries)
  • Navigation rules violations (316 accidents, 26 deaths, 220 injuries)
  • Alcohol use (296 accidents, 115 deaths, 260 injuries)
  • Weather (244 accidents, 42 deaths, 81 injuries)
  • Hazardous waters (232 accidents, 62 deaths, 95 injuries)
  • Force of wave or wake (215 accidents, 14 deaths, 182 injuries)

Can You Recover Compensation for Boating Accident Injuries?

If you or your loved one has been injured in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. Your damages may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages or earnings, and pain and suffering. Our Augusta boating accidents attorney can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.

Who Is Liable for Boating Accidents in Georgia?

The owner of a vessel is liable for any injury or damage occasioned by the negligent operation of the vessel under Georgia Code Section 51-1-22. Provided the vessel was being used with the owner’s express or implied consent, the owner is liable for injuries and other damages. Consent of the owner is presumed if a spouse, child, parent, or other immediate family member was operating the vessel.

What If the Boat Was a Rental?

Many people go out on the water in rented boats. Boat rental companies require renters to sign agreements designed to get around Georgia’s boat owner-consent statutes. These rental agreements state that the rental company does not consent to the renter operating the boat in violation of any warning decals, operating instructions, safety rules, or boating statutes, and if a violation occurs, the rental terminates. Boat rental companies will try to argue that they are not liable. For this and other reasons, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Our Augusta boating accident lawyers at Jamie Casino Injury Attorneys are a team of accomplished, aggressive legal professionals. We give a voice to the injured. Contact us at (912) 809-5335 if you have been hurt in a boating accident that was someone else’s fault.

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