Pontoon Boat Incidents
Today is the first day of spring and marks the beginning of warmer, nicer weather here in Atlanta. This season inspires many local Atlanta families to make plans to enjoy outdoor activities. If a trip to the lake is on your list of activities this spring and summer, we have a few tips to help make sure you stay safe. Here at Zagoria Law, we have handled cases involving serious boating injuries that could have been prevented with a few precautions.
In 2016, there were a record-breaking amount of U.S. pontoon boat incidents in a single week. In our experience, we have found that boat injuries tend to occur when people are bow riding, falling or jump over the front rail, falling through the front gate, or under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, when these factors are combined with faulty boat designs people can get hurt. Most pontoon boats are not equipped with proper propeller guards.
If you are planning to use a boat, make sure the propeller has a guard around it. For instance, if you own a pontoon boat, you may have to purchase one separately. Pontoon boats normally do not come with guards. There are many guards you can purchase and if you are renting a pontoon boat, you can request a boat with a propeller guard. Make sure that the guard encases the propeller in its entirety. Propeller guards can protect people from being injured by the rear propellers. For instance in Texas, a boy fell overboard and was struck by a propeller in his face and arm. If the propeller had a guard over it, the boy would not have come into contact with the blades when he fell over.
If you plan to consume alcohol on the boat, we recommend taking extra safety precautions. Life jackets are recommended, in case anyone loses their balance and falls over while the boat is in motion. Drinking and driving a boat is not recommended. You may want to choose a designated driver to operate the boat because it is not safe to operate a pontoon boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, last year our firm filed suit on behalf of a boy named Anthony Hendricks, Jr. and his family after an intoxicated boat driver suddenly and without warning, engaged the engine while the boy was swimming nearby. The boy suffered deep lacerations on his legs.
It is important to have a plan and be prepared before you go out on the water in a pontoon boat. You can review a list of accidents on pontoon boats here for more information on the types of accidents that can occur . If you or a loved one is injured due to negligence, please do not hesitate to contact us.