Boating Accidents

Body of Clemson University Student Uncovered Following Weekend Kayak Accident in Lake Jocassee


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Although the maritime industry is focusing on the increasing number of cruise ship accidents that have been taking place, boating accident safety is just as critical of an issue. Accidents taking place on pleasure crafts, including motorboats, jet skis and kayaks, can be just as severe, leading to serious – if not fatal – injuries at sea.

Many boating accidents are the result of the pilot’s negligence, including their failure to abide by proper maritime safety regulations. Some boaters decide to operate their vessels while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, placing the lives of everyone onboard and at sea at risk of getting hurt. Other times, boating accidents occur because the pilot does not have sufficient experience manning the helm and is unable to control the vessel. There are also times in which boating accidents are the result of speeding, leading vessels to crash with other boats in the area or against rocks, buoys, docks, or any other structure.

As the number of boating accidents continues to rise, yet another life was taken in a maritime tragedy. Officials discovered the body of a Clemson University student who had been missing since Saturday night after his kayak capsized in South Carolina’s Devil’s Fort State Park in Lake Jocassee.

The victim, Anlin Wang, 25, was pronounced dead after rescue officials found his body just after 9 a.m. Sunday. According to officials, Wang and his wife had been kayaking Saturday at Devil’s Fork State Park when the small kayak they were riding in turned over at around 5 p.m. Both boating accident victims had been wearing life jackets, but Wang’s wife lost contact with her husband 10 minutes after the incident and informed officials that he could not swim. She was able to swim to shore to safety but was unable to obtain assistance right away. Rescuers were finally notified of the accident around 9:30 p.m. that night. After several rescue teams searched the area for Wang, his body was finally recovered yesterday.

Wang’s boating accident death is currently being investigated by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, with assistance from the Oconee County Emergency Services, the Pickens County dive team, the Oconee County dive team, the Salem and Vineyards fire departments, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and the state parks department.

Officials have not yet released information on the kayaking accident as to whether factors such as alcohol were involved.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics, the number of fatal boating accidents have been increasing at an alarming rate, corroborating the need for maritime safety improvements The report revealed that 2011 saw a total of 758 boating accident-related deaths, up from the 672 total boating fatalities that were reported in 2010, representing a 12.8 percent increase.

The majority of the boating accident fatalities were the result of drowning, explained the Coast Guard. But while Wang had been wearing a life jacket, 84 percent of victims who drowned were not. The report showed that a total of 324 of boating fatalities were the result of kayak and canoe accidents, with 57 kayak fatalities being the result of drowning alone.

Boating accidents can be reduced through safety instruction courses, but even with highly trained pilots, incidents can still occur. Roughly 11 percent of the boating-related fatalities reported that year happened while experienced pilots where manning the helm, while 7 percent of the fatalities took place on vessels where the pilot had received boating safety instruction from a NASBLA-approved course provider. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is national nonprofit organization that works to improve maritime safety for boaters and reduce the number of accidents that take place by increasing awareness of safety protocols.

Whenever a boating accident does take place, regardless of whether the incident was caused by natural forces such as unfavorable weather conditions, equipment failure or a pilot’s wrongdoing, it is important for victims to understand they have a right to seek legal help with a boating accident attorney. With the assistance of an experienced lawyer, victims and their loved ones can seek compensation for their pain and suffering, including reimbursement for any medical costs associated with injuries or property damage.

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