News & Events

Yarborough Applegate Shares 10 Boating Safety Tips for a Safe and Fun Summer on the Water

Posted: June 11, 2024

With summer nearly upon us, the water is starting to look even more welcoming than usual. But while a day out on the water seems like a relaxing activity, the truth is that there are many safety precautions and preparations necessary to ensure everyone has a good time and returns home safe and sound. 

The attorneys at Yarborough Applegate know boating injury cases well. We are advocates for boater and passenger safety after they have encountered the unthinkable, fighting passionately for the recognition and compensation they deserve following a catastrophic injury while out on the water.


Yarborough Applegate boat accident attorneys David Lail and John Dodds recently secured a policy limits settlement for a client who was injured when she was hit by the propeller of a boat while swimming in the Charleston Harbor.

On July 4, 2023, our client was a passenger on a boat that had recently anchored near Drum Island in the Charleston Harbor. After the boat anchored and the boat’s engine was turned off, occupants of the boat, including our client, got into the water to swim. After a few minutes, the operator of the boat realized that the anchor did not catch and that the boat was drifting. Without checking behind him or providing any warnings to the passengers swimming in the water behind the boat, the boat operator turned on the engine. Our client was struck by the boat’s propellor, resulting in a fractured patella and severe lacerations to her knee and foot. After a lengthy investigation, officers from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources ultimately determined the boat operator to be the sole contributor to the incident and issued him a citation for Negligent Operation of a Water Device.

Working in consultation with our client’s treating physicians, Lail and Dodds presented evidence of required future medical treatment and the costs of that treatment to the marine insurance carrier for the boat operator. But the insurance carrier refused to accept responsibility and made a settlement offer of only a fraction of the value of our client’s damages. In response, Lail and Dodds filed an admiralty and maritime lawsuit against the boat operator, which quickly prompted the insurance carrier to tender the full limits of coverage.


The United States Coast Guard reports that in 2023, there were 3,844 boating incidents that involved 564 deaths in the United States. This includes 156 total incidents in South Carolina alone, with 23 resulting in death. Serious injuries and death can oftentimes be prevented by adhering to simple boating safety rules. 

Here are 10 boating safety tips that everyone should know. Together they can help ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience for yourself and your passengers this summer:

  • Watch for weather: Always check the marine weather forecast before you head out, and be prepared to adjust your plans based on what you find. Weather can change quickly on the water, so keep an eye on the sky and be ready to head back to shore if storms approach.
  • Provide life jackets for everyone: Ensure everyone is fitted with a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket and wear it at all times.
  • Never boat under the influence: Just like driving a car, boaters should never drink alcohol or use drugs while operating a vessel. It is illegal and dangerous, and can result in serious injury and even death.
  • Be a responsible captain: Boating safety courses will teach you safe boating practices and how to handle emergencies.
  • Check all equipment: Before heading out, check your engine, steering, electrical system, and other essential equipment to ensure everything is in good working order.
  • Share your boat plan: Inform someone you trust about your specific boating plans, including your intended route, departure and return times, and the number of people who will be on board.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings: Maintain a safe lookout for other boats, swimmers, obstacles, and hazards while operating your boat.
  • Watch out for children: Young children are especially susceptible to falls overboard. Keep a close eye on them and ensure they are always wearing life jackets.
  • Don’t overload your boat: Be aware of and stay within your boat’s capacity limit and weight restrictions.
  • Bring safety essentials: In case of an emergency, a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, flares or a signaling device, anchor, and tools are all important to have on board at all times.


All boaters and passengers deserve a safe and enjoyable experience out on the water. When a boater is negligent or has failed to abide by these simple safety tips, it’s important for victims and their families to know their options. An experienced South Carolina admiralty and maritime lawyer can help determine who bears responsibility for your injuries and help hold them accountable for your suffering.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the water in South Carolina, contact a dedicated boat accident attorney like Yarborough Applegate immediately. Your call to us is always free. After hearing more details about the situation, we can help determine if you have a case. 

Disclaimer: Every case is unique, and prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

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