What to do right after a boating accident

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Maritime Law, Offshore accidents

Boating can be thrilling and fun, but it may have various risks often associated with the water’s unpredictability and human error. Because of these factors, vessel operators undergo training and certifications required by state law. During these courses or programs, operators also learn about standard procedures to address different scenarios that could happen offshore, such as boating accidents.

Like auto collisions, boating accidents can also lead to injuries and fatalities. Additionally, being in water can complicate an already dangerous situation. The responsibility of implementing safety standards and protocols falls on the vessel operator, who should also know how to mitigate these risks and follow law-mandated guidelines right after the accident.

Providing assistance is a must

In any boating accident, the law has provisions legally requiring vessel operators to assist anyone who needs help right after the accident. However, the way they deliver aid can vary, depending on the circumstances. They must consider if their actions may endanger anyone else, such as passengers or crew members.

The decision-making process for operators can be challenging, especially since they should prioritize mitigating danger for everyone in the vessel. They should also keep law-mandated “stop and render aid” requirements in mind. Failing to comply with these provisions can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges based on the situation.

Reporting accidents if necessary

Contacting the relevant authorities about a boating accident can be crucial, especially if the situation warrants emergency aid. In minor accidents with little to no damages, the involved vessel operator might overlook reporting the incident. But the law requires them to do so if the incident resulted in an injury, fatality or property damage worth $2,000.

These boating accidents can require a complete report according to local regulations and policies. Some of these measures may seem overboard, but they are requisites by law, often meant to protect and maintain boating safety practices.