You’ve Been in a Boating Accident, Now What?

Boating AccidentFishing, boating, water skiing  tubing – all of these fun summer activities are just around the corner. However, boating can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. There are 12.7 million boats registered in the United States, and approximately 7,700 boating accidents are reported each year.

The best way to keep your family and friends safe this summer is to be proactive. Take a boating safety course, get familiar with your boat and equipment, use good judgment and be aware and courteous of other boaters. As proactive and as cautious as you are, you can’t always prevent accidents from happening, that’s why they’re called accidents.

In case you  are  in a boating accident, we’ve compiled a list of steps that you should follow after an boating accident.

Make sure everyone is okay.

The most important thing to do is to check to assure that everyone involved in the accident is ok and safe from harm. Did anyone go overboard? Did anyone suffer a head injury? Is anyone bleeding? If necessary contact 911 for medical assistance right away.

Report the accident.

Once you have ensured that everyone is ok, you may need to report the accident. Contact law enforcement.The U.S. Coast Guard found that only 5-10% of non-fatal boating accidents are reported.

However, it is important that recreational boat owners and users understand that it is the law to contact the authorities. Stipulations vary by state, but to be safe you should contact the local boating authority to determine the property damage requirement for your state. Usually this will be the county sheriff.

Here are a few situations where you must call the authorities:

  • Someone died.
  • Someone is missing.
  • Someone is injured and requires medical attention of any kind.
  • Boat(s) is damaged.
  • Other property is damaged.

Exchange important information.

If you are waiting for law enforcement to show up, you can save some time by exchanging contact and insurance information before they arrive.

Exchange the following information:

  • Insurance information.
  • Names.
  • Addresses.
  • Phone Numbers.
  • Names of other passengers.
  • Telephone numbers of other passengers.
  • Make and Model of vessel.
  • Registration Number of vessel.

If this accident is serious or you aren’t sure what to do next, contact us. The knowledgeable staff at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss can help by answering questions about personal injury claims, boating accident claims, and more.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Kretek/Flickr