Always Keep Updated and Informed

How to Handle a Boating Accident

Boating Accident

Getting into a boating accident is undoubtedly stressful and requires immediate attention.

The United States Coast Guard defines a “boating accident” as a situation where a boat passenger dies or becomes seriously injured, a boat passenger disappears and death or injury is suspected, or a vessel causes or sustains damage. Boating accidents are therefore not limited to collisions but may occur whenever someone is killed, injured, or disappears while boating.

These accidents are caused by a variety of factors, including boating under the influence, severe weather, inexperience and more. Here we’re going to cover how to handle a boating accident to prevent further injuries and get the help and treatment you need, as well as to understand how your Boat Insurance policy comes into play.

Immediately after the accident.

According to, persons are generally at fault for a boating accident if they act negligently—just as in a car accident. Persons acts negligently if they fail to conduct themselves as a reasonable person under similar circumstances. A reasonable boater would typically adhere to all safety rules and precautions and be mindful of passengers and other boaters. That means following directions, observing signs, maintaining your boat, paying attention to the weather, and never piloting a boat while intoxicated.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you or the other boater might face criminal charges. The other party could sue you for injuries, property damage, medical expenses, or if you caused the accident while you were boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The same holds true if the other boater is at fault.

File an accident report.

If significant personal injury or property damage occurs, the US Coast Guard says that you are required to file an accident report. Contact local authorities and describe how the accident transpired with witnesses, if possible.

The accident report must be submitted to either the applicable state agency regulating boats, the United States Coast Guard, or both. In some instances, it may just be the local police authority. In any event, if personal injuries or death result from the accident, the report must be filed within 48 hours of the accident, possibly sooner.

Get insurance information.

If someone other than the owner of the vessel was operating the boat, you should gather their insurance information. This will assist you in gathering a settlement fund should you need to pay for medical expenses or property damage.


About Mariners Insurance

Mariners General Insurance Group was founded in 1959 to protect boat owners and marine business clients. We are marine insurance experts and insure boats worldwide – in every ocean on the planet. Marine insurance is critical if you own a boat or nautical business. Trust the professionals with all of your Boat Insurance needs – trust Mariners Insurance. Call us at (800) 992-4443 any time you have questions or concerns about insurance for your vessel or marine business.