If you are an experienced boater, you know that the open sea is a great place to relax and unwind. However, if you’re involved in an accident, the peace that should come with being at sea is instantly out the window. In fact, the moments following a boating accident can be extremely shocking regardless of how much time you’ve logged on the water.
Unfortunately, boating accidents happen all too often. Just like on the road, there are countless scenarios that could result in an accident, no matter how experienced you are. And despite all the precautions you may take, sometimes these accidents are unavoidable.
3 “In Case-of-Emergency” Steps That All Boaters Must Know
If you find yourself in the unfortunate and frightening position of being involved in a boating accident, it is important that you know what steps to take. Having a plan of action could save your life.
Following a boating accident, remember these three important steps:
- Check everyone on board. Make sure no one is injured. If anyone needs medical attention that you can provide, help him or her to the best of your ability.
- Immediately call the Coast Guard. Let them know you have been involved in an accident and give them as many details as you can, including your location, how many people were involved, and the severity of the damage or injuries to the vessels and passengers involved.
- Check the passengers on board the other vessel. If another boat was involved, check to see if any passengers aboard that vessel are in need of attention or assistance. Offer it if you can.
Once everyone is safe, potential emergencies have been addressed, and people have calmed down, you can begin addressing the less exhilarating details—that is, those that you may need for insurance and legal purposes.
Steps to Take After Ensuring That Everyone Is Safe
Just like after a car accident, it is imperative that you get the details of the accident down. Make sure that you pay careful attention to everything that happens, starting from the moments immediately after the accident. These details will be imperative later on.
Following any boating accident, remember these three critical steps:
Exchange information. Make sure that you and the owner or operator of the other vessel exchange the following information:
- The name and contact information of the boat owner and operator
- Names and contact information of all involved passengers and eyewitnesses
- Names, ID numbers, and registration numbers of all involved vessels
- Insurance information of all involved vessels
Take pictures. If you can, take pictures of the accident as early as possible. If it is not possible to take pictures while still on the water, be sure to take some as soon as the vessels and all passengers are safely on shore.
Contact the Coast Guard. If you haven’t already contacted the Coast Guard by the time you arrive on shore, you will want to do so. Bear in mind that there are certain situations in which Coast Guard involvement and filing an official accident report are legally required. These situations include:
- If any serious injuries or fatalities occur
- If damage exceeds $2,000
- If any passengers are unaccounted for following the accident
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Boating Accident?
Even though being able to take off on the open ocean is one of the great joys of living in Florida, sometimes trips at sea can take nasty turns.
If you endured any bodily injuries or material losses as a result of a boating accident, you may be entitled to compensation. To start taking the necessary steps toward the justice and reimbursement that you deserve, contact a knowledgeable boating accident lawyer today.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.