Boating provides endless amounts of fun and recreation for all those who regularly engage in the activity. Aside from recreational boating, many people rely on the use of boats for their job or to operate their businesses.
But this enjoyable form of recreation or work doesn’t come without its risks. As with many things that are fun, they can also be dangerous.
Hopefully, you never experience a boat crash. But if you do, there are certain things you’ll need to do right away, for safety, legal, and financial reasons.
Wondering what the common boating hazards are that you need to be aware of? Want to know what you need to do if you ever experience a boating accident? Keep reading to find out now.
Boating Hazards to Be Mindful of
There are a few scenarios that would cause an incident to be considered a boat accident. If someone dies, goes missing, suffers an injury leading to hospitalization, or leads to property or vessel damage, and a boat is involved, it’s a boating accident.
Common Hazards – Divers and Swimmers
What are some of the most common reasons this happens? One is not seeing divers or swimmers when operating a boat.
For divers in open water, they should have a dive flag clearly displayed within a few yards of their location. This alerts boats of their presence, allowing them to provide ample space to those in the water. However, sometimes divers go out without flags, and sometimes boat operators don’t see the flag and can hit individuals in the water.
Bad weather is also a leading cause of boating accidents. Weather can change rapidly, especially in coastal areas. This can lead to high winds, large waves, and low visibility. Weather can result in a boat crash or can cause injury to those onboard individual vessels.
And of course, drinking and boating is a major contributor of boating accidents. No matter what type of vehicle or machinery you operate, it’s never a good idea to do so with alcohol.
Lack of Safety Training
Many accidents can be avoided if boat operators would take training courses before getting out into the water. These are often overlooked as many think that operating a boat is simple and poses little to no threats. But those who forego boating and water safety training are usually the ones to crash a boat.
What to Do After a Boat Crash
If you are unlucky enough to ever experience an accident or crash out on the water, there are a few things that need to take care of right away. Here’s what to do first.
- Ensure Safety After a Boat Crash
When an accident occurs, the first thing you need to do is ensure the safety of each individual involved. Take a headcount of those on your boat to make sure everyone is still on board. Assess if there are any injuries requiring more than standard first aid.
Also, consider the safety of those on the other boat, in the water, on the dock, or anywhere near the accident. If someone falls into the water, don’t jump after them, but throw a lifesaving flotation device and tow them back on board.
If anyone needs help, you need to call for emergency assistance immediately. If you are near shore and have cell phone service, you can call 911 for help. If out in the sea, you’ll need to contact the Coast Guard who can provide the fastest assistance.
Make sure your vehicle is out of the path of other vehicles, especially large cargo ships.
- Report the Boater Accident
Once everyone is safe and you are back at the shore after the accident, it’s required by federal law to report a boating accident when someone has been hurt, killed, gone missing, or when a property or vessel suffered more than $2,000 in damage.
When reporting an accident, be aware that this will provide an accident report for you. This is what you’ll use in order to receive compensation from insurance companies.
Tell the truth about the accident. Share precise details, but avoid giving too much information or admitting fault for the accident, which can work against you later on.
- Collect Information
You’ll want to collect as much information as possible regarding the accident. This can include pictures of damage sustained by your boat and other pieces of property.
Document any injuries, even minor ones. If another boat or party was involved, be sure to collect their personal and insurance information. They are required by law to share this information.
- Seek Medical Attention
After everything is said and done, it’s best to see your doctor, even if you weren’t injured. They’ll be able to assess your condition based on the events that you describe to them.
Some conditions suffered may not display symptoms right away. Or symptoms that you may consider to be minor may actually lead to more serious problems if not dealt with right away.
- Contact an Attorney
To help you navigate the complicated aftermath, it’s best to speak with a boat accident attorney who can help you determine a plan of action. If you are to pursue legal action, they will help you manage this process.
Or, if the other party is taking action against you, you’ll want to have an attorney in place. It’s always best to let your legal representative speak on your behalf.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Lastly, you’ll need to notify your insurance company of the incident. If repairs are needed, they may be able to cover these. You’ll provide the information you collected after the accident, along with the official accident report.
While you would hope the other party will pay for the damages, if it’s their fault, there’s a chance you’ll have to lean on your insurance provider to pay for repairs.
Invest In Boater Safety
No matter what type of accident you experience, be it a car crash or a boat crash, it’s never easy. Not only can it be a traumatizing experiencing, but it can lead to endless phone calls and paperwork for weeks to sort out the details.
Do yourself a favor and attend some in-depth boat operators’ safety classes to better equip yourself when out on the water. After all, the best way to handle a boat crash is to avoid it in the first place.
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