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What Do I Do After A Boating Accident

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  • 24-02-2023
What Do I Do After A Boating Accident

Are you asking: What Do I Do After A Boating Accident? We look at the Main Cause Of Boating Accidents and the First Steps After an Accident.  

Boat surveyors Surrey provide boat survey inspection  in Surrey and throughout South England. Find out more about how boats can get damaged.

What Should I Do After A Boating Accident?

Moments after a boating incident, it can be challenging and overwhelming to figure out your next move; this stress and panic over handling it can even last weeks and months after such an event. When you end up involved in a boating accident, you must consider three key steps you must perform immediately after:

Health & Safety

Follow-Up with Occupants and the Police.

Documentation in the form of an Accident Report and Free Case Evaluation.

First Steps After an Accident

Your main priority after a dangerous boating accident should be to keep everyone safe; you can worry about your or other vessels being properly maintained afterwards. 

You must take immediate steps and legal action that revolve solely around the safety of your passengers before considering other factors. We recommend following these steps before anything else:

Start with a Headcount: Should your boat be afloat and still intact after the accident, you must check that everyone who boarded is still aboard. If you've lost a passenger and they've fallen or been thrown overboard, you must ensure they get back onto the boat quickly, especially if you are in particularly deep waters with a harsh current or they struggle to swim to save them from drowning.

Perform Emergency First Aid: You must then check each of your boat's occupants is safe from any possible injuries; should they be injured in any way, this is the time to treat them with first aid. 

Following this, you must contact the emergency services, especially if the injuries are severe or you fear that occupants may have received head trauma or spinal injuries and require further medical attention to check their blood pressure, vitals, etc. 

When administering care to passengers, it is paramount that you follow the instructions of emergency personnel.

Consider Moving The Boat: Suppose your boat has crashed or suffered an accident in an area of concentrated boating traffic or is in danger of forging paths with other parties, including larger oncoming vessels. 

We recommend doing everything possible to ensure your boat is stationary in a place of safety. If possible, try to dock or beach your boat if you are close to a pier, quay, beach, or any land; this will help if you suspect bad weather conditions on the horizon.

Get Help to the Scene of the Accident: Call federal law enforcement and coast guard emergency services to the vessels involved as soon as possible, especially if you detect any injuries, trauma, immense property damage to the boat through the accident, or in the worst scenario, deaths.

Stay Put: Until it is absolutely safe to do so, i.e., everybody onboard has received the medical care and attention they need, do not leave the vessel or accident scene. 

Emergency law enforcement or United Kingdom coast guards in the closest area will arrive to provide you with all your needed assistance. In circumstances where you are waiting for professionals to arrive, you may also want to equip your occupants with any safety gear you bring. 

Safety gear includes throwable floatation devices, life jackets and visual and sound signalling devices that will catch the attention of any potential bypassers.

Keep Tabs on Health: Once all other boaters have been checked over, you must also check your own health; you may even have health issues or serious injuries that aren't immediately obvious. 

Whilst the other passenger's safety comes first, remember that you will also require medical assistance and a complete checkup.

Collect Emergency Contacts: To keep your occupants safe, you must collect their emergency contact and insurance information. Passengers will need to alert their closest relative or friend that they have been in an accident, significantly if they are severely injured. 

Once everybody onboard is safe, and you have gotten the chance to gather information needed, after following such steps, you must decide whether you or your occupants need to report the accident to the police if you have yet to contact them. Boating accident reports will help you and your passengers get the photos for evidence and facts across properly to help investigate the cause.

In many cases, a police report of such instances is a federal requirement, as it may have been caused by negligent behaviour that you must address. The police would desire a boat crash or accident reported if its nature involved:

Significant death or an injury requiring further medical attention than basic first aid.

If the said accident has destroyed the boats and vessels involved or created damage amounting to more than £2,000 in repair costs. 

Missing persons.


Any damage done to the vessels.

 Do Boats Get Damaged Easily? Marine Surveyor In Surrey

What Is The Main Cause Of Boating Accidents?

Most boating accidents are the product of negligence or an error made by an operator that they could have easily avoided with more attention and more specific instructions. 

However, you should be aware of a few other causes of boat accidents so you and your staff can avoid them as much as possible. Some of the top five boating accidents in 2019 were caused by the following:

A Lack of Attention from the Operator

Improper Lookouts

Staff Operation Inexperience

Excessive Speeding

Alcohol Use Whilst Sailing

For those who may have been injured during or in the aftermath of a boating accident, and you have found the operator was guilty of some negligent behaviour represented in the list above. You can begin preparing a case that would garner you financial compensation in a court of law or with an insurance coverage company.

We recommend employing professional help by working alongside an experienced personal injury lawyer, as this will enable you to search for the most suitable compensation for your specific accident. Building a solid lawyer-client relationship is paramount to seeking the truth of who is responsible among those involved in the boating accident.

Studies in 2019 found alcohol usage to be one of the most significant contributing factors for those who had experienced detrimental boating accidents, much like those involved in car accidents. Drinking whilst operating any vehicle is incredibly reckless and dangerous, leading to numerous avoidable incidents that can put many lives at risk.

A boat on the water is no different from any other mode of transport you can find on busy roads, so it must be operated accordingly and compliant with all driving rules and regulations; otherwise, you will face criminal charges. 

Why to Get a Boat Survey

What Is The Main Cause Of Boating Accidents?

Who Is Liable In a Boating Accident?

It can be challenging to prove who is liable when a boating accident occurs. However, it is the boat owner's responsibility to be liable for all aspects of the boat, including equipment checks before and after boarding and general health and safety checks.

Should the boat be of a larger capacity that needs running and tending to from all different areas, there should also be plenty of training courses for the staff aboard.

On the other hand, whilst the boat's owner holds the majority of the responsibility, the situation can be complex. Perhaps you set various training schedules and courses and ensured the health and safety policies were followed; however, the issue falls with the boat operators, who may have done something that breaches the regulations.

Even when your team or vessel staff are incredibly well-trained, some members could still make mistakes or defy the rules in place for whatever reason, which is why it can be difficult to pinpoint who is at fault for the accident or damage.

Don't fret; many legal expert witnesses are available nationwide with plenty of years of experience in the industry, dealing with issues and cases of significant vehicle accidents. Experts and experienced lawyers will utilise their expertise and history in the field to help you establish who is responsible, which will enable you to obtain a successful claim that is most suitable.

However, you may fail to receive compensation claims until you collectively establish the proof of liability. 

Are you looking for a boat surveyor near you. Follow the links below to contact our marine surveyor for Surrey and South England.