Under North Carolina law, boats and other vessels are required to have certain types of safety equipment on board. The North Carolina Vessel Operator’s Guide explains the minimum requirements, which vary based on the type and size of the vessel. Larger commercial vessels, for example, must have more safety equipment than smaller personal boats.
According to the Vessel Operator’s Guide, every recreational vehicle must have at least one approved Personal Flotation Device of an appropriate size for each person aboard the vessel and for each water skier being towed by the vessel. Vessels at least 16 feet in length also must have a throwable personal flotation device, unless the vessel is a kayak or fits within another exception.
North Carolina’s rules also require children under 13 to wear a personal flotation device while the boat is operational, and establish additional requirements for safety gear on commercial vessels.
The absence of essential safety equipment could exacerbate the potential dangers that passengers face if something goes wrong while aboard a boat. For example, without a personal flotation device, drowning is much more likely if a boat sinks or if a passenger falls overboard due to an accident.
If the absence of required safety equipment causes or exacerbates injuries, the boat owner/operator who should have provided safety equipment can be held liable for losses – even if the boat operator may not necessarily have caused the accident. The owner/operator is negligent by failing to fulfill requirements associated with safety gear and it is this negligence that can make him liable for damages.
A North Carolina boat accident lawyer can help victims to make a case for compensation if a problem with safety equipment caused harm. Call today to talk with Auger & Auger and find out more about how we can help.