A North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries patrol vessel collided with a privately owned boat in Morehead City, NC, on the morning of June 28, 2016. The crash occurred in a no-wake zone, but two of the civilian boaters suffered injuries that required medical treatment. The most serious injury was a separated shoulder that needed to be set at a hospital.
State wildlife officials immediately opened an investing into the boating accident, and no word has yet emerged on which craft violated a rule of the water and set the stage for the collision. If the Marine Fisheries crew is found to be at fault, the injured recreational boaters could have grounds for filing personal injury claims against the state agency. Consulting with an experience and dedicated Carolina boating accident attorney while pursing reimbursement for medical expenses and damages is advisable since state employees have broad protections against liability that can be difficult to argue around.
Ironically, the crash involving the state patrol vessel occurred just days ahead of a Fourth of July weekend water safety initiative by North Carolina law enforcement personnel. Built around the theme of "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive," the program will see local and state authorities emphasizing enforcement of the state's newly strengthened laws against boating while intoxicated, or BWI. Law enforcement officers will also be on the lookout for speeding in no-wake zones, cutting off other craft and wake jumping.
What this boat accident in Morehead City illustrates more than anything is that risks for crashes are as ever-present on the water as they are on roads and highways. Even the most highly trained boaters can make errors or commit reckless acts that injure or kill others. All people taking to the water must remain sober and mindful of operating safely.
UPDATE: State officials on June 30, 2016, charged the officer driving the Marine Fisheries patrol craft with hitting the recreational boat while it was anchored. The impact caused a capsizing. The official charge is negligent operation of a vessel so as to endanger life, limb or property of another..