What to do after a boat collision?

You’ve all heard the story. A group of experienced seafarers enjoy a sunny day out on the water, only to collide with another boat, a jetty, or in some cases, even a low lying bridge.

Although we certainly hope this never happens to you, it is important to know what to do if it does.

Here are our top tips for what to do, if things go awry.

  1. Check everyone on board is okay

    Yes, it sounds obvious, but in stressful situations, it can be easy to overlook the most important step of all – checking your crew is okay. If someone does need medical attention or if your boat is no longer seaworthy, radio in for emergency assistance. Just be sure to be specific with your location co-ordinates.

  2. Minor injuries? Apply 1st aid

If someone has a minor injury, head to the trusty 1st aid kit and ask a qualified first aider to assist the injured party. Of course, this is assuming 2 things; you have a 1st aid kit and a qualified first aider onboard. In a perfect world, every adult on a boat should have completed basic first aid training.

Head here to see where St John Ambulance runs courses in your state.

  1. Exchange information with the other party

Just like a car accident, it’s important to exchange information with the operator of the other vessel involved. Be sure to get:

  • The operator’s name, address, phone number and email.
  • The hull ID and name of the boat.
  • If possible, the name of their insurer and policy numbers.

We also highly recommend gathering the following information, as this will make the claims process far easier:

  • The names and contact details of any witnesses (onshore or onboard).
  • Photographic evidence of the damage using your mobile or camera.
  • An inventory of any damaged or missing items.
  1. Report the boat collision

No matter how severe or minor the collision is, it’s important to report it to the local coast guard or marine authority in charge of the area your were boating in. If the incident was minor, wait until you get ashore and report it from there.

Most marine authorities will have a protocol for reporting boat collisions. Head to their website for more information, or phone them direct if nothing is available online.

  1. File your claim

Now that you’re off the water and the immediate danger of the situation has been dealt with, it’s time to alert your marine insurer of the boat collision. This is where all of the information you’ve just gathered comes in handy.

Be sure to supply any images you have taken, the report you filed with the marine authority and the contact information of the parties involved and witnesses to the collision. Your insurer may ask you for further information to ensure they have the full picture before contacting the other party’s insurer and proceeding with your claim.

Of course, in an ideal world, boat collisions simply don’t happen. So if you’re looking to avoid this situation entirely, you may enjoy this great blog on how to avoid a boat collision in the first place.

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Contact us to discuss your marine insurance cover today.