Boating safety in North Carolina

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Prompted by a series of fatalities and injuries in boating accidents and water-related incidents on North Carolina waterways, law enforcement officials warned people to be careful to observe the basic rules of safety on the water. Even before summer’s beginning, several accidents made news.

  • A man was killed when his boat hit a tree in the water as he returned from fishing.
  • A man drowned during a boating accident on Holt Lake, Johnson County.
  • A boat explosion injured three people after they mistakenly loaded fuel into a fishing rod holder.
  • Two kayakers stranded on an island were rescued from the Neuse River.
  • A person was rescued by being pulled from the Cape Fear River.
  • A man drowned in Lake Norman following a nighttime collision of two boats.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission reminded boating enthusiasts who “take to the waterways of North Carolina to fish, sail, water ski, and pursue other vessel-based recreation” of boating laws and safety procedures. Wildlife officers are authorized to stop any vessel for safety checks or violations and enforce the state boating laws and navigation regulations. Here are some tips:

  • A North Carolina Boating License is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a powered watercraft of 10 HP or more on state waters.
  • For information on state boating laws, consult the North Carolina Vessel Operators’ Guide.
  • The NC Rules of the Water state,” Every boat operator has the obligation to take whatever action is necessary to avoid an accident.”
  • Boating accidents that occur on public waters must be reported to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (24-hour toll free at 800-662-7137) when any one of the following occur:
  1. Loss of life, an injury requiring medical treatment or a person is unconscious or left disabled for 24 hours
  2. Actual physical damage to property (including vessels) is in excess of $2,000
  3. A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury.

We urge you to stay safe as you enjoy North Carolina’s oceanfront and waterways!

Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in litigation and settlements, with a focus on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact Richard Manger via email at, or by calling (336) 882-2000.


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