A boating accident can take a terrible toll on all involved and provide consequences that could linger for many years. Ultimately, you’re hoping for the best when you take your vessel onto the water. But even the most vigilante sailors can encounter the unexpected: sudden changes in weather, equipment malfunctions, and objects hidden below the surface, to name a few.
Things to Consider After a Boating Accident
If you have the misfortune of experiencing a boating accident, you don’t want to panic and risk getting hurt or losing your watercraft altogether. Instead, learn everything you can about boating safety, state laws, and the boat insurance claims process so you can act quickly.
Boat Insurance Is Essential
If something happens to your boat, you want to avoid paying expenses out of pocket. Boat insurance programs provide coverage, so you’re not stuck with the bill:
- Financial penalties for property damage or injury
- Legal defense fees
- Replacement in case of theft
- Repairs for damage caused by collision or vandalism
Once you’re safe and have addressed any medical issues, you can file a claim by calling your agent.
Float Plans Save Lives
Part of how to be prepared for a boating accident is letting other people know you’re hitting the waves. Any time you travel, you should tell someone you trust the following:
- Where you’re going
- How long you’ll be gone
- Where you’ll park your truck
- What your truck, boat, and trailer look like (pictures are a great addition)
- Who is going with you
Called a float plan, this information ensures that people know where to look and can start searching immediately if something goes wrong during your trip. Keep in touch with your float plan buddy and send an alert if any part of the plan changes.
Life Jackets Are for Everyone
Another critical step in being prepared on a boat in case of an accident has the right equipment. For example, everyone should have a life jacket, no matter how well they swim. If you sustain a head injury and get knocked overboard, a life jacket may save your life.
Every boat should have the following safety equipment:
- Sound signaling devices
- Throwable flotation devices
- Visual signaling devices
- Fire extinguishers
Check these items before you embark, as they can expire, wear down, or get damaged. You don’t want to be in the middle of an emergency when you realize your fire extinguisher doesn’t work.
File a Police Report Before Your Boat Insurance Claim
Most states have laws requiring boaters to file a police report if they get into an accident on the water. However, the details vary by location. For example, Wyoming requires you to call the authorities immediately, while Alabama requires reporting within 10 days, but only under the following circumstances:
- There’s more than $50 in damage.
- Someone sustained an injury.
- Someone passed away.
You’ll also need a police report if you decide to pursue a personal injury case.
Additionally, a report can speed up your boat insurance claim. Some insurance companies don’t require a police report to start the claims process, but the documentation can be helpful. Legal records clarify the situation and help adjustors determine essential factors, such as who was at fault. With clear answers to such questions, the insurance company doesn’t have to waste time tracking down witnesses or piecing the scene together.
About Provident Protection Plus
For more than 65 years, Provident Protection Plus has served the businesses and residents across several states nationwide. Today, we are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Provident Bank, the region’s premier banking institution. To learn more about our coverage options, contact our specialists today at (888) 990-0526.