Questions About Boat Accidents

What counts as a boating accident?

Any accident that involves a vessel out on open water—including ferries, personal watercraft, or tour ships—is considered a boating accident. Boating accidents do not only involve collisions; they can also involve sinking, capsizing, explosions, fires, and passengers falling overboard.

How are personal watercraft different from other boat types?

A personal watercraft is any vessel that uses an inboard motor and is operated by someone in a standing, sitting, or kneeling position. Examples of personal watercraft include Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, and other popular brand names. Personal watercraft also pose unique dangers in recreational waterways because of their design.

What is maritime law?

Maritime law regulates the transportation of goods and people on all navigable waterways, including oceans, rivers, large lakes, and more. Anytime a boat accident occurs on navigable waters, maritime law governs the grounds and procedures for legal claims. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in maritime law is important if you want to increase your odds of a successful case outcome.

What should I do if I’m injured in a boating accident?

All boating accidents should be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard or the local authorities if:

  • Any person’s injuries require attention beyond first aid
  • A passenger is missing
  • The vessel is lost
  • Property damage exceeds $500

After emergency personnel arrive, be sure to gather relevant information about the accident, including the contact information and insurance information of the boat operators, contact information of other passengers and witnesses, and the registration numbers for all boats involved in the accident.

What are the most common causes of boating accidents?

The majority of boating accidents are caused by speeding, intoxication, inexperience, hazardous conditions, or equipment failure.

If you or one of your loved ones has been seriously injured in a South Carolina boating accident, please contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates, P.A., today to schedule a free case evaluation. We represent injured victims throughout South Carolina, with offices in Camden, Columbia, Lexington, Sumter, Orangeburg, Aiken, and Newberry.



(1807 Hampton Street Columbia, South Carolina 29201)
(485 N. Lafayette Drive Sumter, South Carolina 29150)
(119 East Main Street Lexington, South Carolina 29072)
(919 Broad Street Camden, South Carolina 29020)
(104 Office Park Drive Orangeburg, South Carolina 29118)
(2203 Wilson Road Newberry, South Carolina 29108)
(231 Pendleton Street, NW Aiken, South Carolina 29801)