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What to Do If You’re Involved in a Boating Accident

boating accident can turn an entertaining activity into a frightening experience. In the case of an accident, it can be difficult to know how to react. Ginnis & Krathen, P.A. is here to provide the resources and support you need to ensure your safety in the unfortunate event of a boating accident.

What to Do in Case of a Boating Accident

An individual aboard a boat that is still afloat after an accident should immediately ensure the safety of himself or herself and any passengers on the vessel; the individual should also take note of anyone who needs medical attention. If someone has fallen overboard, help the victim back onto the boat as soon as possible. If the boat is leaking or breaking apart, the passengers should safely and carefully climb atop of the debris and call for assistance.

If the boat is intact, and once every passenger is onboard, move the vessel out of harm’s way without leaving the accident scene. If there was another vessel involved in the boating accident, the people in the boat should also check on the wellbeing of the passengers in the other vessel. The operator or a capable individual should call the U.S. Coast Guard and provide information about the accident — including any necessary medical assistance for the passengers.

After the passengers are safely back on land, they must schedule a medical examination, even if there are no obvious injuries. They should indicate the boating accident as the reason for the appointment. Some injuries do not appear immediately after an accident.

Accident Reports and Information Gathering

An important step to take after a boating accident is filling out an accident report. These accident reports not only provide the Coast Guard with information that could help prevent future accidents, but they also provide important evidence to determine liability in a potential boating injury case. Accident reports are mandatory if the accident causes more than $2,000 in property damage, if there is a total loss of vessel, or if someone:

  • Dies within 24 hours
  • Suffers an injury that requires treatment beyond first aid
  • Disappears from the vessel

When gathering information for an accident report or for other legal purposes, it is important to obtain the following facts:

  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of boat operators and passengers
  • Names and contact information of any potential eyewitnesses
  • Registration or identification of involved vessels
  • Insurance company names and policy numbers for everyone involved
  • Pictures of the vessel and the damage

Boating Safety Tips

Captains and boat passengers can prevent or mitigate the chance of an accident by following these safety tips:

  • Checking the boat’s engine and ensuring it works properly before departure
  • Inspecting the hull for any openings and tight fittings before leaving
  • Consulting the weather conditions before the trip
  • Ensuring there is enough safety gear for everyone onboard, particularly life jackets
  • Bringing accident report forms onboard
  • Maintaining a safe speed
  • Having someone provide a lookout for oncoming vessels

Were you or a loved one involved in a boating accident? You will require the assistance of knowledgeable personal injury attorneys to examine the facts surrounding the case and to defend your rights in court. Contact the lawyers at Ginnis & Krathen, P.A. today for a no-cost consultation.

Legislation is current as of May 20, 2019

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