Having a boat and getting out onto the water is, by far, one of the most liberating pastimes there is, and while it’s fun, games, and a maker of many amazing memories with those you love, you do need to do what you can to stay safe. That being said, you can’t always be in control, and accidents do happen.
Unfortunately, accidents on the sea are common and often result in severe injury or death. Even if you never anticipate being in a boating accident, it’s critical to be prepared for what happens next.
You must protect yourself and seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you fall overboard, your boat sinks, or you collide with another boat. However, while there’s a tonne of information on what you can do when a boating accident occurs, here are the five steps you should take afterwards.
First things first, during the situation itself, you need to contact a local authority or attract the attention of another boat for assistance, depending on the circumstances. Your options include calling the Coast Guard, contacting 911, or getting in touch with another local law enforcement organisation that operates in your local area.
This is much like what happens if you’re in a car accident and should call law enforcement, so you have an official body there to take evidence and preside over what happens next.
If possible, one person should focus on preventing more damage to the vessel, while another provides any medical help that may be required to the others involved.
Seek medical assistance
Even if you don’t think you were hurt in the accident, it’s still a good idea to get medical help once you’re back on dry land. Certain injuries may not show symptoms for a long time after the accident. Medical treatment also produces a paper trail, which may come in handy if you decide to file a personal injury claim.
Your best ally is evidence. Gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all those who were involved in the boating accident, including any witnesses. You should also take steps to document the mishap using photos and videos.
Also, make a list of important information, such as boat registration numbers, insurance policy numbers, and details of the accident, including the date, time, and names of people involved.
Submit a legal report
Any boating mishap resulting needs to be reported so long as it falls under the following criteria;
- There’s a significant injury, disappearance, or death
- There is property damage of over $500
- A total vessel loss
According to the Division of Boating and Waterways, any deaths must be reported within 24 hours, while disappearances and injuries must be reported within 48 hours.
For all other kinds of situations, you have ten days to file a report.
You can report it to the Division of Boating and Waterways (if you’re in California), or the maritime organisation in your state, using the form relevant to your state. You’ll need to record particular information about the injuries, property damage, and how the boat accident occurred.
Speak with an attorney
Boating regulations differ from state to state—and even within a state—which is why it’s critical to understand your rights using the help of the best and brightest maritime accident attorneys, If you don’t, you might not be able to get compensated for any injuries or property damage.
By assisting you with collecting evidence, gathering expert testimony, and negotiating with an insurance company, a competent attorney can make a significant difference in the result of your case.
As you can see, the steps you’ll need to take after a boating accident are not difficult, but you must take the time to know them so you have direction. The worst thing that can happen is experiencing an accident and not knowing what to do after, causing problems later down the line. Get familiar with these steps, and you won’t have an issue!