Boat accidents are different from typical car accidents, a lot of people know what to do if they’re involved in car accidents but when it comes to accidents on the water, it’s really irritating. One might be confused on what to do because the casualties will end up floating on water and as the operator you might end up floating or injured as well.
Imagine there is a boat accident and some of the passengers are drowning while some are injured, you’ll find yourself confused on what to do.
Are you going to save the ones drowning or take care of the ones injured? We’re going to put together a list of actions to take when you find yourself in a boat accident as the operator.
What The Operator Should Do If Boat Accident Occurs
Bring Everyone To Safety
As the boat operator, this is what you have to do first when an accident occurs. Provided you’re safe and sound, you need to gather everyone to safety. Here is a list of actions you need to take in order to ensure everyone involved in the boat accident is safe.
- Stop your vessel; In other words, you need to stop your boat, switch off the engine, or whatever is powering the boat. This will prevent further loss or damage and you’re not going further away from the help team that will arrive. Stop the vessel right away or if there is some danger around the environment, you can move further from that place and then stop the vessel.
- Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket; The life jacket will prevent individuals from drowning, if there are severe injuries, they can hardly float on the water even if they know how to swim. With a life jacket, you can at least prevent the casualties from drowning which will save you and reduce some tasks on you as the operator.
- Make sure there is no risk of getting hit by another boat; You want to make sure the boat isn’t in a position where another boat might hit it again to cause more damage to your boat and the passengers on it. You have to do this before switching off the engine, once you’re in a safe place you can stop the vessel.
- Assist your passengers that are in danger; The injuries of some will be worse than others and they’re the ones you need to assist. If there are passengers who’re not injured you should request them to assist the ones that are in danger. As the operator, you already know the basic help to provide and you can explain it to others to do the same but under your supervision. Provide the necessary medical care with your first aid kit, you should grab this kit if you can reach it to provide the basic first aid help needed by the passengers injured.
- You should abandon the boat if the risk of further danger is on the way; If you sense more danger coming while you’re on the boat, you need to get everyone off the boat immediately. We’re talking about dangers like explosions or any other threat that might occur on the boat. In this situation, you need to deploy PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices) which should be on the boat and as mentioned above, all passengers should wear life jackets as well.
By following the steps above, you’ll be able to bring everyone to safety and you can now take the next step that will help the situation you’re in.
Report The Accident
Once you’re sure that no one is in danger, the next action to take is by reporting the accident to the authorities in charge.
This will depend on your state or region, some require you to report the accident to the Coast Guard while some demand reporting to the police first.
There are conditions; for instance, if there is loss of life, it has to be reported to the police or if there is damage exceeding $5,000.
While the US coast requires that you report the incident if there is a person missing, fatality, property damage worth more than $2,000, destroyed vessel, or important body injuries.
Call the emergency lines available and let them know of the accident that occurred and if rescue is needed you should explain that as well.
Provide Your Information To The Other Party Involved
If you’re able to communicate with the other party involved in the accident, that’s in the case where two boats are involved, you need to provide them with written confirmation of your name and address, and vessel identification number.
Not only to the third party involved but also to anyone that’s injured at the scene and owner property damaged in the accident.
Gather Information About The Accident
You now start collecting information about the accident, you need to gather all the information regarding the accident including the passengers involved.
You need to have enough information for all the parties involved in the accident, this includes; names, emails, addresses, vessel identification numbers, take pictures and videos, locate material evidence, and any other info that will help in making a claim especially if you know it’s not your fault.
Even if it’s your fault, you should be honest and write the report accordingly. Also, request for the insurance company and policy numbers for all parties involved.
Write down the exact location when the accident occurred, mention the position of the boat and the damages done, and the type of injuries sustained from the accident. You shouldn’t ignore even tiny details, write a full description as much as you can and make sure to gather witnesses if available as well.
Go for further medical examination
Once you’re off the accident scene, all those that sustained injuries should go for further medical examination. Even the passengers without noticeable injuries should be examined to ensure everyone is safe and those that require further treatment should be done as well.
Some ignore negligible symptoms and that’s not a good move, ensuring every potential condition is examined properly before any claims are made.
Notify your insurer
It doesn’t matter whether you’re at fault or not, you should contact your insurer as soon as you can. Even if it’s your fault, you might still qualify for settling your damages. The other party involved might have their insurer speak to you, just corporate with them.
If you believe things are serious like in the case you want to claim for full damages done to you, you need to speak to your attorney. If you don’t have any, you should hire one right away to proceed with your claims.
Start making your claims
After everyone is safe and medical examinations are done, you can now start making claims, if you’re looking for compensation, it’s the right time to begin.
If you notice things are becoming out of hand by your insurance company or theirs, you should hire an attorney to handle it for you.
It’s strongly advised to hire an attorney when demanding compensation because you already know how insurance companies can trick you in order to deny your claims. Some don’t even talk to insurance companies; they speak to their lawyers first and let them handle it for them.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to stay safe and you can receive any compensation you deserve without stressing yourself.
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