Boating Accident Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC - Jet Ski Accident Attorneys Near You

Boating Accident Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC

Living in Myrtle Beach has its perks, one of which is having easy access to the ocean. The Intercoastal Waterway, Little River Inlet, and Murrells Inlet offer fantastic recreational activities for boaters. Additionally, nearby rivers such as Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and North Santee Rivers also provide opportunities for boating and fishing. With so many bodies of water close by, it’s no wonder that many residents and tourists alike take advantage of this opportunity by spending time on their boats. Whether it’s fishing, water skiing, or simply cruising around, there’s something about being out on the water that just feels liberating. Boating is not only a fun pastime but also a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of Myrtle Beach. With miles of coastline to explore, some of the best beaches in the country, and plenty of sunshine to soak up, Myrtle Beach is a boater’s paradise.

Given the high number of boats present in Myrtle Beach, it’s not surprising that a boating accident occurs from time to time. Such accidents can be very scary and pose a significant risk to those involved, especially if alcohol is a factor. It’s important to know what to do, say, and how to handle the situation in case an individual is ever involved in a boating accident or has sustained boating accident injuries. It doesn’t matter whether an individual is an experienced boater or a first-timer; understanding the potential risks and being prepared to respond quickly to an emergency can make a big difference between a minor incident, and a life-threatening one. Therefore, it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about boating safety measures and boating accident protocols to ensure everyone’s safety.

Embarking on a jet ski adventure is an exhilarating experience like no other! The rush of the wind against your skin and the thrill of skimming across the water create an unbeatable sense of excitement. In the vibrant coastal paradise of Myrtle Beach and throughout the entirety of South Carolina, jet skiing stands tall as one of the most beloved and sought-after water sports. The pristine waters of the region provide the perfect playground for jet ski enthusiasts, offering both beginners and seasoned riders a chance to embrace the waves and bask in the beauty of their surroundings. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping ride or a leisurely cruise along the coastline, jet skiing in Myrtle Beach and South Carolina promises endless adventure and an unforgettable connection to the water. There are also multiple names referring to the use of jet skis, including:

  • Personal Water Craft (PWC)
  • Sea-Doo (Brand)
  • WaveRunner (Brand)

 

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The First Thing You Should Do After Being Involved In A Boating Accident In Myrtle Beach

While it is true that the theory behind how to handle a boating accident is similar to how to handle a car accident, there are differences in how to handle individual situations.

Immediately Check For Boating Accident Injuries

If a person is ever involved in a boating accident in Myrtle Beach, the first thing they should do is stop the boat immediately and check if anyone needs medical attention. The combination of being in a body of water and a boating accident means that the boating injuries sustained in the accident can be far more severe and life-threatening than in a typical car accident. If someone falls overboard, assist them back into the boat if possible, or climb on floating debris and signal for help if the vessel breaks apart or is sinking. It’s crucial to wear a life jacket at all times to stay afloat in case of an accident, as 75% of boating accident injuries and fatalities result from drowning according to the US Coast Guard.

Assuming everyone is still on the boat, the priority should be keeping the vessel out of harm’s way while providing medical assistance to anyone who is injured. Boat operators in South Carolina are required to move their boat out of the way of oncoming vessels immediately, and any boat injuries should receive first aid. Contact the Coast Guard right away to inform them of the boat accident location and the type of boat accident injuries that have been sustained if visible.

It’s also important to check if anyone aboard other vessels involved needs assistance, and never leave the scene of a boating accident, especially if anyone has sustained a boating injury. Even if an individual believes that they have a boating injury, it’s a good idea to see a doctor after a boating accident. The shock of being in a boat wreck can mask symptoms of a severe injury, and it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It’s important to note that individuals should tell their physicians if they were involved in a boat accident, as they may want to run specific tests or perform certain procedures. Seeing a doctor to confirm injuries as well as create a medical treatment plan is also essential for creating as well as proving injury in a compensation claim for any boat accident injuries.

South Carolina Boaters Safety Course – Is It Mandatory?

In South Carolina, the Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) offers a Boater Education Program to teach boaters the essential skills and knowledge for safe and responsible boating. This program is mandatory for boaters under 16 years of age who wish to operate a personal watercraft or a boat powered by a 15-horsepower motor or more without supervision. The program aims to reduce the number of boat accidents, injuries, and property damage caused by boating while increasing the enjoyment of the water for outdoor enthusiasts.

Collisions can be prevented easily if every vessel operator takes these responsibilities seriously. Remember, failing to keep a sharp lookout is the most common cause of collisions, so it’s important to always watch for wake zones and maintain a safe speed. By completing the Boater Education Program, boaters can help ensure their own safety and that of others on the water.

The SCDNR offers two options for taking the Boater Education Course, which will allow boaters to comply with the boating law and fulfill their responsibility to practice good boatmanship, keep a proper lookout, and maintain a safe speed. The two options for taking a South Carolina Boater Education Course are:

  • Instructor-Led Classes – The recommended approach to Boater Education is to attend a six-hour classroom course led by an instructor, which is offered free of cost. The course usually spans a single day and concludes with a test to qualify for certification. Furthermore, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons conduct classes across the state, charging a nominal fee. Details about these classes can be found on the Boating Course Calendar.
  • Online Self-Study Course – Individuals can access the Boat South Carolina Course with engaging visuals online. The interactive graphics will assist them in learning and retain information on safe boating practices in South Carolina. Upon successfully clearing the online test, individuals will be sent a State of South Carolina boating safety certificate by mail. The course costs $39.95, payable only once they pass the final test.

The National Association of Safe Boating Law AdministratorsSCDNR acknowledges any internet-based boating safety course that has received approval from the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators. It is the course provider’s responsibility to furnish the student with a boating certificate upon successfully completing the course.

How To Prevent A South Carolina Boat Accident

It’s important for boaters to prioritize safety while operating their boats. To ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers, and everyone else on the water around them, there are several tips that boaters should always follow.

Life Vests For Everyone!

Having proper safety equipment on board the boat is essential for every outing and boater. It is imperative to have life jackets and other flotation devices available for everyone, as well as a first aid kit and emergency supplies. In addition, boat lights, a fire extinguisher, and an anchor should be present on every vessel.  Life vests should also be worn on a jet ski – because of the lack of protection and the high speeds involved – injury accidents after jet ski crashes can be even more common than boat accidents.

In South Carolina, any passenger under the age of 12 must wear a Coast Guard-certified Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device, otherwise known as a life jacket. According to the Coast Guard, 75% of boat accident deaths are caused by drowning, and 84% of those who drown were not wearing life jackets. Therefore, boat owners must ensure that there are life jackets for every person on board, and every passenger must wear them to ensure everyone’s safety in case of an emergency.

Keep An Eye On The Weather

It’s crucial to be aware of weather possibilities and water conditions while operating a boat. In fact, as of 2020 weather is the 8th primary contributing factor to boat accidents. In 2020, the US Coast Guard reported 244 boat accidents caused by weather, of which 42 fatalities resulted. Additionally, those 244 boat accidents resulted in 81 boat accident injuries. These boat accidents were attributed to hazardous waters, and weather conditions. Before heading out, it’s advisable to check the weather report and monitor the water conditions. If there are indications of bad weather ahead it’s essential to return to shore as soon as possible to ensure the safety of everyone on board.

Be Mindful Of Other Boaters

Paying attention to other boaters in the water is crucial for reducing boat accidents. Collisions can easily happen when boaters fail to be mindful of their surroundings. According to the United States Coast Guard, there were 664 accidents, 55 deaths, and 383 injuries in 2020 caused by operator inattention. To prevent potential accidents, boaters should remain vigilant and maintain a safe distance from other boats. Following waterway regulations and showing courtesy to other boaters can also contribute to a safer boating experience. Ultimately, practicing mindfulness and awareness of other boaters in the water can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

What Age Can You Drive A Boat or Jet Ski In SC?

In South Carolina, those who are under the age of 16 must successfully finish an approved boater education course before they can operate a personal watercraft or a boat (jet ski) with an engine of 15 hp or more, without adult supervision. This regulation aims to ensure that young boaters possess the essential skills and knowledge to operate watercraft safely. Beyond adhering to legal obligations, completing the boater education course could potentially make you eligible for insurance discounts on your boat or jet ski coverage.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) provides two options for completing the Boater Education Course: a guided classroom course led by an instructor, or a self-paced online course. The online option offers an interactive and comprehensive learning journey, culminating in the issuance of a State of South Carolina boating safety certificate upon successful completion.

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What To Do After A Boating or Jet Ski Accident?

In the event of being involved in a jet ski accident in South Carolina, it becomes paramount to adhere to these recommended steps. Following these is essential to safeguarding your personal well-being and legal entitlements.

  1. Prioritize Safety – Your safety takes precedence. Following a jet ski accident, ensure your security by signaling for assistance from another jet ski or boat, or promptly heading towards the shore. Given the peril of being injured and stranded in open water, swift movement toward a secure location is of utmost importance.
  2. Seek Immediate Medical Aid – Irrespective of whether you sense injuries or not, seeking medical attention is imperative. Certain injuries, like concussions, might not manifest immediately. Arrange for timely medical assessment and treatment for yourself and others involved in the incident.
  3. Report to Authorities – Notify the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and local law enforcement about the accident. Their aid can be instrumental in documenting the incident, providing assistance, and creating an official accident report. This report holds significance for future insurance claims and potential legal actions.
  4. Accumulate Crucial Evidence – If possible, capture photographs of the accident scene, encompassing any damage sustained by the jet skis and the surrounding environment. Gather contact details of witnesses and record videos of the watercraft, individuals involved, and the accident site. Such evidence holds pivotal value for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  5. Alert Your Insurer Promptly – Initiate the claims process by promptly contacting your insurance provider. Share the compiled information, including the accident report, photos, and witness accounts. However, exercise caution in your communication until you obtain legal guidance, as insurance companies often seek to minimize payouts.
  6. Engage Legal Consultation – Should the accident result in severe injuries or if you suspect the involvement of another party’s negligence, seeking advice from an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney is recommended. A proficient attorney can clarify your rights, explore available avenues, and assist in pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

By adhering to these steps, you can effectively prioritize your physical well-being, safeguard your legal rights, and progress towards obtaining the rightful compensation following a jet ski accident in South Carolina. It is vital to recognize that the expertise of legal professionals can prove invaluable when navigating the intricate complexities of such situations.

 

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How Common Are Jet Ski Accidents?

While jet skiing undoubtedly offers an incredible and thrilling experience, it’s important to acknowledge that this activity can swiftly transform from fun to perilous. Last year, a tragic incident in July served as a sobering reminder of the potential dangers associated with jet skiing. In Myrtle Beach, a child lost their life in a jet ski accident, and the gravity of the situation was further emphasized by the fact that the child’s father was driving the jet ski at the time of the accident. The unfortunate reality is that such accidents can occur unexpectedly, even in popular destinations like Myrtle Beach. Statistics from 2022 starkly illustrate the risks involved in jet skiing. In 2022 alone, South Carolina witnessed:

  • 24 jet ski drownings
  • 54 total jet ski-related deaths
  • 549 injuries

However, there are also other factors that can contribute to a Myrtle Beach jet ski accident, including:

  • Operator Inexperience – Operator inexperience ranks prominently among the leading causes of jet ski injuries. While they may appear straightforward to operate, jet skis demand a level of skill and experience, and lack of familiarity can lead to issues such as excessive speed or inadequate maneuvering.
  • Under The Influence – Operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol is another prevalent concern. While the recreational nature of jet skiing might make it seem like drinking and operating go hand in hand, intoxication remains a serious hazard. Alcohol impairs motor skills and judgment, contributing to some of the most severe watercraft accidents. Despite the open waters, the dangers of operating under the influence mirror those of operating a motor vehicle.
  • Mechanical Issues – Mechanical issues also warrant consideration as a common cause of jet ski accidents. Not all accidents result from operator error; inadequate maintenance of rental jet skis by some establishments can lead to breakdowns at inopportune moments. Clients who have suffered injuries due to mechanical issues with jet skis have sought legal representation from reputable personal injury attorneys. At The Lovely Law Firm, our accomplished Myrtle Beach jet ski accident lawyers have successfully advocated for clients who experienced injuries as a result of jet ski malfunctions.

Recognizing these common causes of jet ski accidents is essential for promoting safety and preventing injuries on the water. Whether through responsible operation, gaining sufficient experience, abstaining from alcohol consumption, or ensuring proper maintenance, these insights empower individuals to enjoy jet skiing while minimizing risks.

Types Of Jet Ski Accident Injuries

Whether you’re a novice embarking on your first jet ski ride or an experienced operator of powerful watercraft, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most common types of jet ski injuries, especially in the context of Myrtle Beach. This awareness can empower you to take preventative measures and prioritize safety while enjoying the open water.

Concussions

Concussions are a significant concern, as many states lack mandatory helmet laws for jet ski operators. High-impact collisions can result in severe head trauma, often leading to concussion symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Unlike some injuries, concussions require time for symptoms to subside rather than aggressive medical intervention.

Whiplash

Whiplash injuries occur when sudden, forceful movements contort the body into unnatural positions, causing considerable pain. These injuries can be avoided by taking wider and slower turns on the jet ski and necessitate rest for recovery.

Bruises

Jet skiers are also susceptible to deep bruises caused by crashes into other water vessels or contact with the jet ski’s own components due to the strong up-and-down movements in water. Treating deep bruises typically involves ice application followed by a period of reduced activity.

Fractures

Fractures are another common injury, often arising from collisions due to the lack of protective gear. The arms and legs are particularly vulnerable and may require weeks or even months in a cast to heal properly.

Lacerations & Scrapes

Lacerations are a risk as well, given the presence of jagged edges on jet skis and the potential for impact with sharp objects. Open wounds from lacerations can lead to bacterial infections, which can exacerbate the severity of the injury if not treated promptly.

Sprains

Sprains can occur, especially in the shoulder area, due to the strength required to maneuver a jet ski. Slowing down the watercraft’s speed can be a preventive measure against sprains.

Recognizing these common jet ski injuries in Myrtle Beach enables you to take steps to mitigate risks, practice caution, and prioritize safety to ensure a more enjoyable and accident-free experience on the water. If you’ve sustained an injury while operating a jet ski, it’s important to contact a jet ski accident attorney in Myrtle Beach at The Lovely Law Firm to ensure that your rights are fully protected while obtaining compensation.

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You Can Receive A DUI While Operating A Boat In South Carolina

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is illegal in South Carolina for good reason. Alcohol is one of the leading contributing causes of boating accident injury and death, responsible for 25% of boating accident deaths in 2020.

Being out on the water in the hot sun all day can exacerbate the effects of alcohol, making it far too easy for a boat operator to become impaired without even realizing it. In 2020, 115 fatalities were directly caused by alcohol use while operating a boat. Of the 296 total boat accidents in 2020, there were 260 boat accident injuries reported.

Law enforcement officers can arrest boat operators for BUI if they have probable cause to believe the driver is impaired. To avoid an arrest for BUI, and more importantly, to save lives, boaters should always drive sober. Making a commitment to stop after a drink or two, or better yet, not to drink at all, is a smart choice when operating a boat.

Involved In A Boating Accident In Myrtle Beach? Call The Lovely Law Firm Today

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of a personal injury claim on your own. That’s where The Lovely Law Firm comes in. Our experienced boat accident lawyers accept boating accident cases on a contingent-fee basis, meaning that we only get paid if we successfully recover compensation for you. We have represented victims of boating accidents in a variety of locations, including Murrells Inlet, the Intercoastal Waterway, and the Little River Inlet. We understand the intricacies of boat accident claims and are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact a Myrtle Beach boat accident lawyer at The Lovely Law Firm for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you with your potential boat accident claim or assist in obtaining a police accident report. 

 

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