Sunday, May 28, 2017

WEAR YOUR LIFE VEST WHEN BOATING: A major contributor to people dying during boating accidents is that the victims were not wearing a life vest.

Law enforcement urges boating safety after recent accidents

After recent boating incidents, law enforcement agencies around the state are reminding the public about the dangers of operating a boat while under the influence and other hazards on the water.


Boating accidents are unfortunately common this time of the year.

On Saturday, a water rescue was issued to help two boats that collided on Falls Lake. Even though no one was injured, officials said incidents like this are a "very real danger."

Like driving, boating requires care and situational awareness; however, unlike driving, the waters have no lanes, no stop signs, and no traffic lights.

Owner and manager of Rollingview Marina, Brandon Gooch, said one way to reduce danger is to reduce speed, which greatly diminishes a boat's wake.

"Most of the danger comes for kayakers, paddle boaters, and canoers," the third generation dockmaster said. "If they get hit with a rather large wake, they, in turn, can be flipped over."

Wakes can also rattle speed boats.

But the biggest worry for families is drunk boaters.

"When you see someone coming your way, it's a good idea to look around you, look behind you," Gooch said. "When you try to move over, make sure there's no one you're going to cut off."

In 2016, 23 people died in boating accidents in North Carolina. Officials said a major contributor to these deaths is that the victims were not wearing a life vest.

Of the 23 fatalities, only three people were wearing a vest, yet state law requires one life jacket for every person on board.

Overall, authorities investigated 147 boating accidents in 2016.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) was out on the water Saturday in full force, hoping that their presence will help lake goers make smart decisions.

"We hope by being on the lake, seeing us out there (we can make a change)" Brent Ward with the NCWRC said. "If just one person sees us out and doesn't do something they might have done otherwise, it has all been worth it."

For the seventh year, the NCWRC is partnering with the State Highway Patrol and Mothers Against Drunk Driving for "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive," which is a nationally recognized campaign that combines law enforcement resources to ensure the everyone can travel safely during the summer months.

According to the NCWRC, there are five new felony offenses for an operating while intoxicated offense:

  • Repeat death by impaired boating- Class B2 felony

  • Death by impaired boating- Class D felony

  • Aggravated death by impaired boating- Class D felony

  • Aggravated serious injury by impaired boating- Class E felony

  • Serious injury by impaired boating- Class F felony

Anyone born after 1988 must have a boating license to operate a watercraft.


Officials: Man pulled from water in Johnston County has died

A man drowned in Johnston County's Holt Lake

Friday, May 26, 2017 06:16PM
JOHNSTON COUNTY, North Carolina (WTVD) -- A man pulled from Holt Lake in Johnston County on Friday has died, officials told ABC11.

Authorities told ABC11 an older man was involved in a boating accident near the dam. Crews on the scene said two people were on two boats on the water. One boat got too close to the dam and got stuck.

The man got out of his boat to help the other boater and lost his footing, causing him to fall in the lake. He was overcome by the current and drowned, officials said.

The other boater was not hurt.

North Carolina Wildlife has been notified and is investigating.


Fisherman Drowns In Boating Accident
May 26, 2017

One person died in a boating accident Friday afternoon. It happened at 3:16pm at Holt’s Lake on Highway 301 South of Smithfield.

Four friends in two separate boats were fishing near the dam when one of the boats became lodged on the spillway at the dam. The other boat and its occupants came to assist their friends. While trying to free the boat one of the men was overcome by the current and drowned. The name of the victim has not been released pending notification of family members.

The three other individuals were not harmed.

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. The Smithfield and Four Oaks Fire Departments, Johnston County EMS, Smithfield Police Department and NC Highway Patrol responded to the scene.