The Dangers of Marinas in Virginia and North Carolina

Many boaters start out their trip at a marina. Often, they are oblivious to some of the dangers inherent at docks that have numerous boats, dangerous chemicals and electrical hazards.

A devastating fire at a marina in Urbanna in Virginia earlier this year highlighted some of the dangers inherent at marinas. Two people died in the blaze and 21 boats were destroyed.

marinas can be a hazard

Hampton Roads and North Eastern North Carolina have numerous marinas. They include.

  • Bluewater Marina in Hampton;
  • Old Point Comfort Marina in Hampton;
  • Salt Ponds Marina in Hampton;
  • James River Marina in Newport News:
  • Willoughby Harbor Marina in Norfolk:
  • MWR Norfolk Naval Sailing Center and Marina in Norfolk:
  • Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth;
  • Scott’s Creek Marina in Portsmouth:
  • Marina Shores Marina in Virginia Beach:
  • Rudee Inlet Station Marina in Virginia Beach
  • DB City Marina close to Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Constant’s Wharf in Suffolk
  • Smithfield Station in the Isle of Wight

Most marinas are safe and well run but there have been serious accidents that occurred at marinas in and around Hampton Roads.

Here are some well-known dangers at marinas.

1 Explosions during and after refueling

A few years ago a 20-foot powerboat exploded at the Lynnhaven Marine Boatel in Virginia Beach injuring several people who were on board. The fire department concluded the explosion had been caused by a buildup of gas fumes that then ignited when the mariners tried to restart their boat’s engine. They were leaving the marina’s fuel pump and failed to release the buildup of gas fumes, according to reports.

2 Swimmers Being Electrocuted

The danger of electric shock drowning is always present at marinas. A boat’s electrical systems may leak into the surrounding water, causing death or electric shock to swimmers. Many marinas lack ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which will automatically shut off electrical power if a leak is detected, according to NFPA Journal.

The best rule of thumb is never swim at marinas. As well as the dangers of electric shocks you may be injured by a boat. Most marinas have signs posted that tell people not to swim.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is becoming an increasingly common risk at marinas. Boats give off carbon monoxide from their drive motors or generators and it can easily reach dangerous levels when cruisers are idling.

Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals

Sediments and other pollutants can run into marinas after a storm as well as oil, grease and chemicals. You should be careful about coming into contact with water after a storm.  Chemicals stored at a marina may also constitute a fire risk.

If you are hurt or if you lose a loved one at a marina, the owners or operators may be to blame under the law of premises liability. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers has a premises liability team. Call us at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.

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