What You Need to Do in a Boating Accident

Now that it’s summer season once more, many of you are going to the beaches not only to get a great tan but to enjoy a variety of water activities as well. Aside from swimming and the usual activities such as surfing, windsurfing, waterskiing, etc., one water activity that many seem to love is boating.

Boating is a great way to enjoy nature. You have the lulling waves beneath you, the cool breeze around you, and the beauty of the scenery to take pleasure from. However, boating has its own inherent risks. An equipment might malfunction, or a strong gust of wind or wave might damage the boat. In any case, you have to be prepared and know what to do should you be involved in a boating accident, especially if the boat’s rented.

While on the Boat

The first thing that you need to do is to assess the situation. Was someone injured, if so, how serious is his injury? If you know first aid, then you can administer it immediately. If not, then you need to give the best medical care that the situation permits such as stopping bleeding, stabilizing a fracture, dressing a wound, etc.

While you are administering medical care, you have to be aware of the rest of the situation. Are you still in harm’s way, such as fire? How about the boat? Is it sinking? If there’s fire, then it needs to be extinguished immediately to prevent it from spreading. If the boat’s sinking, then water should be scooped out immediately to delay the rising of water. Boats should have fire extinguishers as well as bails and bilge pumps in case of accidents.

When you see that everybody’s safe, call the Coast Guard as soon as possible. In fact, it’s advisable that you get in touch with the Coast Guard immediately after the accident. So while you’re administering medical care and the rest are dealing with fire and rising water, for example, someone should be getting in touch with the Coast Guard. Remember, a moment delayed from being rescued can spell disaster to the occupants of the boat. Tell the Coast Guard that you were involved in a boating accident and describe your situation the best that you can. You need to give them your exact location as well as a physical description of your boat. These information will make it easier for them to locate you and send help. If someone is in need of medical help, then advise the Coast Guard so they can immediately send a medical team to attend to the needs of the victim.

Once everything is under control and you’re waiting for help to arrive, exchange contact details with the rest of the occupants of the boat, including the operator. You will need the passengers’ names, addresses, and contact information; and you will also need from the operator his name, contact details, boat’s name, insurance company, registration number of the boat, insurance policy number, and other identification number of the boat.

When on Shore

When you get on shore, it is important that you file a boating accident report not only with the Coast Guard but with the appropriate state agencies as well. You need to include in the report your injuries, if any, and the damages done to your property.

Finally, you need to get in touch with your insurance carrier and personal injury lawyer if you wish to pursue a case against the boat operator.


The author, Jennifer Dacey, is a freelance content provider for insurance companies. She is currently working for a Lincoln Nebraska Insurance provider, a trusted provider of car and boat insurance.

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