Lake Allatoona Georgia Boat Crash Injures 5 People including a Young Infant

boating for july 8 blogIn 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.

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The DNR reports that Boating Accidents in Georgia over the 2014 Memorial Day Weekend were similar to 2013

boating girl for may 28 blog 2014The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported that boating incidents over the 2014 Memorial Day Holiday Weekend were similar to 2013 with two (2 ) drownings in 2014, and two (2) drowings in 2013.  The drownings in 2014 were as follows: Eighteen-year-old (18) Chance Werner  drowned in Lake Allatoona after an accident at Dock D of Holiday Harbor Marina in Bartow County; and William Brown drowned in the Atlantic Ocean near Tybee Island.  Mr. Brown’s body was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean by Tybee Island Police Department.

Five (5) were Injured on Georgia Waterways During Memorial Day Weekend this year, while there were six (6) Boating-Related Injuries in 2013. Boating Under the Influence in 2014 was 32, down significantly from 42 in 2013, with BUIs this year on some of the larger lakes including Allatoona, 1; Lanier, 10; Oconee,1; Clarks Hill, 3; Sinclair, 1; Jackson, 1.

Boating Incidents in 2014 were nine (9), up one from eight (8) last year, and the incidents this year were as follows as Reported by Rangers:

• Lanier (5/24): PWC ran into a boat in Shoal Creek-0 injuries
• Lanier (5/25): Fire on a Pontoon-Bald Ridge Creek-0 injuries
• Lanier (5/25): Boat that Sank near Aqualand Marina-0 injuries
• Lanier (5/25): PWC and vessel collision near Van Pugh Park-2 minor injuries
• Hartwell (5/25): minor incident-0 injuries
• West Point (5/25): Tubing incident where a tuber was thrown off tube/injuring neck/shoulder
• Lanier (5/26): 15 year-old fell off a pontoon in Chestatee River area and was struck by boat (transported to NE Ga Medical Center)
• Lanier (5/26): Fisherman pushed his boat away from Lula Bridge and fell into water, inhaled water while under (transported to NE GA Medical Center)
• Lanier (5/26): Rangers working one incident in Burton Mill area (details not available)

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Boating Accidents can cause Death, and Responsible Parties can be held Criminally Liable in Georgia

ushers son killed in crashRecently, a jury found the man who caused the death of famous singer Usher’s young son in a boating accident guilty as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on February 21, 2014.  The accident was a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided with proper safety being exercised. 

The law in Georgia that governs Boating Accidents is O.C.G.A. Section 52-7-14.  The Georgia Law is very extensive and lists very important duties in the case of a boating accident including:

1.)  The Duty to Render Assistance and Identify the Vessel and Self that states that so long as it is safe to do so that assistance should be rendered to any person involved in a boating accident;

2.)  The Good Samaritan Clause which makes it possible for those rendering aid not to be held liable in doing so;

3.)  Accident Reports are Required to be filed with the Department within 48 hours of said accident if any injuries or deaths were involved;

4.)  These Reports are very extensive and must include very detailed information as listed in Subsection (c)(3)(A)-(T) of the Georgia Statute;

5.)  Medical Facilities must report injuries or deaths and supply copies of medical records;

6.)  Salvage Rights stating that any person who fails to claim a vessel within 12 months will lose the ownership interest in said vessel; and

7.)  Official Authority giving any officer who is authorized to enforce the provisions of this Georgia Law the authority to maintain any vessel for a period of time necessary for evidentiary purposes and otherwise.

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