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South Carolina Boating-Related Deaths
The majority of boating accident deaths, in South Carolina, have been a result from drowning. Sadly, most victims were not wearing a life jacket. Statistics show that fatal boat crashes are more likely occur when boaters lack proper safety instruction. For instance, the Coast Guard indicates that only 11% of the fatalities in 2011 occurred on boats where the boat operator had reviewed boating safety instructions.
Many residents take advantage of the Cooper River, the Atlantic Ocean, and other waterways throughout South Carolina. Boating accidents happen all too often, and sometimes accidents can’t be helped. Boating accidents may also be caused by a driver’s negligence or a defect in the boat or its equipment.
We Hold Negligent Boaters Accountable
Human error, improper boat maintenance, or boat defects are most often the reason for boating accidents. If any of these factors played a role in an accident that injured you or caused the death of a loved one, you deserve legal relief.
If You Were Injured in a Boating Accident, You May Deserve Compensation
If you are looking for a boat accident attorney, The Hartman Law Firm, LLC can help. With offices conveniently located throughout South Carolina, we have helped numerous boat crash victims throughout the state. We have the experience and knowledge to help you win the largest amount of compensation possible given your situation.
Causes of Boating Accidents
- Alcohol and drug use
- Excessive Speed
- Failure to ventilate the boat or equipment
- Missing or insufficient navigation aids
- Failing to properly observe other boaters (i.e., improper lookout)
- On-board navigation lights that do not work properly
- Boat operator inattention
- Overly congested waterways
- Inexperience of the boat operator
- Restricted vision
- Sharp turns
- Machinery or Hull failure
- Bad weather
- Improperly anchoring the boat
- Loading the boat incorrectly such as distributing weight improperly or overloading the boat
- Equipment failure
- Hull failure
- Machinery failure
- Hazardous waters, including waves or wakes
- Bad weather
- Fires caused by spilled fuel or vapors igniting
Human error, improper boat maintenance, or boat defects,
Definitely. Circumstances where there may be more than one defendant in a boating accident case are:
- Being a passenger on a boat where your friend or acquaintance was driving while intoxicated, failed to follow proper procedure, or didn’t act with reasonable boat driver care
- A boat collision caused by another vessel, such as another boat or a jet-ski
- A defect in the design or build of the boat that caused the boat to fail, crash, or sink
- Contracting with a boat repair person or business who didn’t properly maintain your boat
It depends on the circumstances under which the accident occurred. It is always best to just call our office and take advantage of the free 20-minute strategy session.
What are South Carolina's BUI Laws?
Boating Under the Influence or BUI laws in South Carolina are:
- It is illegal to operate a motorized watercraft, including sailboats, while under the influence of any mind-altering substance. That includes alcohol and drugs.
- You do not need to have a breathalyzer to determine if you are impaired. It is at the law enforcement’s discretion to determine if you are too impaired to be operating a watercraft.
- The penalties for a first-time BUI are as follows:
for a first offense, by a fine of two hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours nor more than thirty days. However, in lieu of the forty-eight hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for forty-eight hours of public service employment. The minimum forty-eight hour imprisonment or public service employment must be served at a time when it does not interfere with the offender’s regular employment under terms and conditions, as the court considers proper. However, the court may not compel an offender to perform public service employment instead of the minimum sentence;
- The penalties for a second BUI are as follows:
for a second offense, by a fine of not less than two thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars and imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours nor more than one year. However, the fine imposed by this item may not be suspended in an amount less than one thousand dollars. Instead of service of imprisonment, the court may require that the individual complete an appropriate term of public service employment of not less than ten days upon terms and conditions the court considers proper. Upon imposition of a sentence of public service, the defendant may apply to the court to be allowed to perform his public service in his county of residence if he has been sentenced to public service in a county where he does not reside;
- The penalties for a third BUI are:
by a fine of not less than three thousand five hundred dollars nor more than six thousand dollars and imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than three years.
(C) Any person convicted of operating a water device in violation of subsection (A), in addition to any other penalties, must be prohibited by the department from operating any water device within this State for six months for the first conviction, one year for the second conviction, and two years for the third conviction. Only those violations, which occurred within ten years including and immediately preceding the date of the last violation, shall constitute prior violations within the meaning of this section.
A person whose privilege is suspended under the provisions of this section must be notified by the department of the suspension and of the requirement to enroll in and successfully complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program certified by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services prior to reinstatement of the privilege. An assessment of the extent and nature of the alcohol and drug abuse problem, if any, of the applicant must be prepared and a plan of education or treatment, or both, must be developed based upon the assessment. Entry into and successful completion of the services, if such services are necessary, recommended in the plan of education or treatment, or both, developed for the applicant is a mandatory requirement of the restoration of privileges to the applicant. The Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program shall determine if the applicant has successfully completed the services. The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services shall determine the cost of services provided by each certified Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. Each applicant shall bear the cost of services recommended in the applicant’s plan of education or treatment. The cost of services must be within the limits set forth in Section 56-5-2990(C). No applicant may be denied services due to an inability to pay. Inability to pay for services may not be used as a factor in determining if the applicant has successfully completed services. If the applicant has not successfully completed the services as directed by the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program within one year of enrollment, a hearing must be provided by the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and if further needed by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.