Sunday’s Daily Press delivered the unwelcome news that the Chesapeake Bay and rivers and lakes throughout Virginia (VA) had already seen more accidents this year than during all of 2008. Worse, the 124 reported accidents in 2009 almost match the 146 reported in 2007.
People in motor boats, canoes and kayaks had accidents. So did people riding Jet Skis and other personal watercraft. According to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries rules, each of the accidents represented by these statistics reflect an incident in which someone was seriously injured or killed, more than $2,000 of property got damaged or someone disappeared.
The Daily Press story struck me because I know that accidents on the water are usually preventable or avoidable. One recent case in point is the man who drowned after being washed off his small boat by an unexpected wave while watching the early rounds of this year’s East Coat Surfing Championships. The man, Tong Xiao, was not wearing a life jacket.
Virginia has started an almost decade-long program to improve the safety of boating by requiring licenses and safety classes for anyone who drives a motor boat or rides a Jet Ski. My colleagues and I have already applauded these measures, but the recent rise in accidents on the water argue for speeding up the timetable for licensing and educating boaters.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border. The firm handles car, truck, railroad, medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. We also host a YouTube injury law video library with more than 50 videos covering many FAQs on personal injury subjects. Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton’s lawyers are licensed in VA, NC, SC, WV, DC and KY.