The tragedies we all watched unfold this past summer with the death of Kile Glover (and in a separate accident two other young people), has now led to charges being filed against the man who was piloting the jet ski that killed Kile and injured his friend. The jet ski driver was a friend of the family and on an outing with them in Buford. He has now been arrested after grand jury indictment and charged with homicide by vessel.
The fatal jet ski crash was widely reported on national media. What I hope to do by focusing on this and as an Atlanta boating accident lawyer is to avoid more tragic accidents by talking about the importance of following boating rules and saying something when we see boaters driving unsafely or under the influence.
As many might recall, the 11-year old was tubing with a friend when the arrested man’s jet ski struck them both. In this horrific accident, the boy lost his life after he went into a coma and his heart eventually failed.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has jurisdiction over boating accidents and after a thorough investigation the jet ski pilot was determined by authorities to be responsible for this tragedy.
Some good has come from this summer outing turned tragic. The Georgia Senate has just passed a bill that is named for three boys, including young Glover, who were killed last summer in boating accidents. It was passed with a unanimous vote. Senate Bill 136,
known as the “Kile Glover Boat Education Law” and “Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law,” lowers the legal limit from 0.10 to 0.08 and provides for enhanced penalties for both those hunting or boating when under the influence.
Under current Georgia law the legal alcohol limit for boating 0.10. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §52-7-12 now provides that: “No person shall operate, steer, drive, or be in actual physical control of any moving vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be below 0.10 grams at any time within three hours of operating a boat, water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, or similar moving device.” This bill lowers that limit as noted to 0.08.
The new bill also provides for a misdemeanor after a first or second conviction, a high and aggravated misdemeanor for a third conviction and a felony for a fourth conviction. Penalties for these include fines, possible imprisonment, community service and other educational requirements. In some instances, boaters will have their licenses suspended until they can provide proof of boating education course completion. Young boaters will be required to have had boating education before they can operate a personal watercraft.
In addition, the new bill increases from 10 to 13 years of age for the requirement of wearing a personal flotation device. The Georgia House of Representatives will now have a chance to pass this bill and make it Georgia law.
The injury or death of a young person or child is one of the most difficult experiences possible. If your child has been injured, please seek the help of legal counsel for guidance and support. If you have any questions about an accident or injury, please contact my law office for a free consultation with me.