Experts: North Carolina Should Require Safety Training for Boaters

Boating safety groups have made a new push to require all boating operators throughout North Carolina to undergo safety training. This comes after three boating fatalities occurred over the Fourth of July weekend.

Under current state law, only people born in 1988 or later are required to undergo boater safety training before they operate a watercraft. The law also currently restricts local governments from setting their own ordinances. North Carolina is one of the 26 states throughout the nation that mandate boating courses only for people born after a specific date, and there was no training at all required until 2009.

The Lake Norman Marine Commission, however, says boat drivers of all ages should be required to go through the training. Their position is that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and people who know what they’re doing should have no problems passing the test, while people who should not be operating a boat will not pass.

Improving safety through better training

There were 23 fatal boating accidents in North Carolina in 2014, and 20 of those involved drivers who were at least 30 years old and are exempt from the current safety training rules. Potential topics to be covered in a boating safety test would be right-of-way issues, skiing safety, safe following distances, how to safely maneuver through wakes and more.

North Carolina has already tallied 21 boating-related deaths this year after having 26 all of last year, which gave the state the fourth-most boating deaths in the country. The top causes of those fatal accidents were operator inexperience, operator inattention and alcohol.

For strong legal guidance and advice after a boating accident, contact the trusted North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Lanier Law Group.

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