Georgia and Alabama are home to many lakes and rivers. During the summer months, hundreds of boaters flock to area lakes, such as Lake Eufaula, Lake Blackshear, Smith Lake and Lake Lanier. Rivers like the Chattahoochee River, the Flint River and the Alabama River span hundreds of miles across both states and are navigable by boat or vessel. Boating accidents increase during the spring and summer months but also occur in the winter and fall as fishing is enjoyed year round in these areas. Boating accidents occur as a result of a number of factors including:
- Inexperienced Operators
- Excessive Speed
- Inattentive Operators
- Machinery Failure and Products Liability
- Reckless Operation
Marinas and companies operating near rivers and lakes often rent boats and jet skis to inexperienced operators who have no training whatsoever to operate a vessel on the open water. Additionally, especially during the summer months, we see a sharp increase in the number of accidents involving jet ski and boat operators who are drunk. Much the same as on the highways, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in both Georgia and Alabama.
For example, Georgia law under O.C.G.A. § 52-7-12 (a) states that “no person shall operate, navigate, steer, or drive any moving vessel, or be in actual physical control of any moving vessel, nor shall any person manipulate any moving water skis, moving aquaplane, moving surfboard, or similar moving device while [under the influence of alcohol, drugs, a combination of alcohol and any drug, marijuana, glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor] …”
Similarly, in Alabama, “[a]person shall not operate or be in actual physical control of any vessel, or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or any other marine transportation device on the waters of this state,..” pursuant to Alabama Code 32-5A-191.3(a).
If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless person operating a boat or jet ski, contact us 24/7 for a free evaluation.
Tifton Office225 East 2nd Street, Tifton, GA 31794