An apparent head-on collision between two bass boats near the confluence of the Little River and Halls Creek in northeastern North Carolina left one man dead and two others slightly injured. The fatal crash on the waterway that separates Perquimans and Pasquotank counties happened at around 12:30 pm on April 9, 2017.
Officers with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission responded to the crash but could not immediately determine its cause. Details on how the man who was a passenger in the southbound boat died were also not made available to the public. It is unclear whether any charges will be filed.
As spring begins, more people will be taking to the rivers, creeks, and lakes of North Carolina. Boaters must remember that waterways have rules of the road similar to highways. Even in areas without channel markers, boats should keep right and move even further to starboard when meeting another boat or personal watercraft coming from the opposite direction. The BoatUS Foundation highlights the following two reminders on its Navigation Rules webpage:
- Whenever you meet another boat, it’s like approaching an unmarked intersection in your car.
- In a meeting situation, in which neither vessel has a clear-cut “right-of-way,” … each must act to avoid the other. Each vessel in a meeting situation must alter course to starboard so that each will pass on the port side of the other.
Those rules apply to every boat with a motor or sail on any type of waterway. Violating the rules for approaching and passing can bring a ticket just like driving on the wrong side of the road or attempting an illegal pass in a car or truck. As this tragedy on the Little River proves, violating the rules of the road on the water can also set the stage for a fatal crash.
North Carolina does not require boat owners to carry insurance. Despite this, people injured or killed by a boater’s negligent or reckless behavior can seek compensation and damages. A death by drowning or from injuries incurred in a boat crash could give the victim’s family grounds for filing a wrongful death lawsuit if no insurance coverage applies. Consulting with a Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney who has experience helping people hurt in boat crashes would let them know what their legal rights and options are.