The beautiful and scenic waterways within the state of North Carolina are managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. It is the job of the commission to post and enforce the rules of the water in and around North Carolina. In addition, the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission also has power over coastal waters.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission is who you should report to in the event of a boating accident in North Carolina waters. However, the first thing you must do is ensure that everyone involved is unharmed. Seek medical attention immediately for those who might have been injured in the boating accident. Once everyone is deemed unharmed, or properly treated by medical professionals on scene or taken to a local hospital, you can then report your accident to the commission.
However, the commission states that it is the responsibility and obligation of every boat operator to take all necessary actions and precautions to avoid an accident. They recommend the following rules to stay safe on the water:
Always pay attention to and obey the rules of the uniform waterway markers. The Uniform Waterway Marking System has been accepted for use on North Carolina public waters. The system facilitates water traffic, similar to how motor traffic is navigated on highways. Boaters must become familiar with this system, and its markers and signs, to navigate the waters properly and safely. Below is a summary for each marker and sign:
The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission requires all boating accidents or incidents that include injury, death, or disappearance be reported to their agency within 48 hours via their 24-hour toll-free phone number. All other incidents can be reported within 10 days. Boat operators, or vessel owners, are required to submit a written account of any accident that involves:
If the accident involves injury, death, disappearance, or damage worth $2,000 or more, the accident must be reported immediately to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission within 48 hours of the incident’s occurrence or within 10 days for other boating accidents in which there were no injuries or loss of life.
Check that all passengers involved are safe. Stop your vessel at the scene of the accident, if it is safe to do so, and help anyone who might be injured from the accident if you can safely do so. Report the accident to the authorities. If medical assistance is needed, call 911. Cooperate with any investigation at the scene or in the future.
The answer to this question is both. Both boat operators are responsible for not colliding, and both are responsible if they do collide. Staying knowledgeable about boating rules, guidelines, right of way, and how to navigate the waters as a boat operator is imperative to preventing boating accidents on the water.
Both the Vessel Operator’s Guide published by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the North Carolina Coastal Boating Guide published by Wildlife in North Carolina are available as downloadable PDF files. These should be referenced once a year as updates are published. Boaters should be familiar with the rules of the water as set forth in both guides.
If you have been involved in a boating accident, the very next thing you should do after reporting the incident is find a Wilmington Boating Accident Lawyer who can advise you going forward. Contact Christina Rivenbark & Associates today to schedule a consultation and discuss your boating accident case with an experienced attorney on our legal team.