Nobody wants to think about having a boat accident; however, knowing what to say and do if you happen to have one is an important consideration for all boat owners. There are certain steps to take in case there are people injured or killed. There are things to do to help those in need. There are things not to do and things that should not be said. This is a helpful guide from the agents at ALLConnecticut Insurance, serving West Hartford, CT and the surrounding area.
After a boat accident, if you are still onboard and the boat is afloat, determine if anyone is injured and needs medical assistance. At the same time, evaluate the safety of remaining on the boat. Stay calm and do not panic. Focus on making good decisions and taking the appropriate actions depending on what is happening.
In some boat accidents, the fuel explodes into flames. If there is any risk of this occurring or if the boat is already on fire, help everyone out of the boat and get into the water. Move as far away from the burning boat as possible.
If the boat is sinking, make sure everyone has a floatation device and get into the water. Move away from the boat to avoid the boat pulling you down under water from the vacuum caused by its sinking.
If there is no risk of the boat sinking, or from fire, or explosion, do the opposite and stay on the boat. Help anyone that fell overboard to get back into the boat. Help the injured by giving first aid. Use any available communication system to send a “May Day” distress call for help to the Coast Guard.
Once you are sure everyone is OK and out of danger, gather information about the accident, such as the contact information for everyone involved including the boat owners, passengers, witnesses, and insurance companies/policy numbers (if available) for the involved parties. Take photographs of the scene and the damage.
Report the Accident
Federal law requires the boat accident to be reported if anyone is injured enough to need medical care or killed. Moreover, if the damage exceeds $2,000 a report must be filed with the U.S. Coast Guard. Do not admit the accident was your fault or say you are sorry about it to anyone.
Contact Your Insurance Agent and an Attorney
As soon as possible contact your insurance agent to inform them of the accident. It is also usually a good idea to contact an attorney that specializes in boat accidents regardless of who is at fault for causing the accident.
For peace of mind, ask your agent at ALLConnecticut Insurance in West Hartford, CT to review your boat insurance to make sure the coverage is adequate.