Recreational boating is incredibly popular in the United States, especially in places with warmer climate. But no matter where your client boats there’s always a risk that at some point, they might get into an accident. In 2017, there was 4,291 boating accidents with 658 of them being fatal, according to data from United States Coast Guard. Don’t let any of your clients be a part of that statistic. Awareness and prevention methods are key.

When things can’t be easy, it’s important to know what your clients are up against. Having a recreational marine insurance program in place to pick up the pieces is one thing, but there’s always more that you and your clients can do in the event of an accident. Here’s more information on recreational boating accidents, courtesy of Dolman Law Group.

Types of Accidents to Deal With

Bad or hazardous weather is actually not often the cause of many recreational boating accidents. Most of them can be blamed on human error. Some common accidents to be aware of include:

  • Collision with another vessel
  • Hitting another boat’s wake
  • Hitting a wave
  • Hitting a fixed object or land
  • Failure to have proper safety equipment on board

Since boating is incredibly popular, it means that colliding with another boat could happen on a crowded waterway. Crowded waterways also can cause a boat to hit another boat’s wake. Waves are dangerous, depending on how large they are and then you even have to deal with land. And without proper safety equipment, an accident can go south really fast.

When an Accident is Considered Reportable

A boating accident is no joke, especially for a first time boater. But when does it need to be reported? Just like a car accident, not every accident is devastating in terms of damage. Here’s five criteria to let your client know about when an accident needs to be reported:

  1. If someone passes away.
  2. If someone disappears and it seems like there’s death or injury.
  3. If someone needs medical treatment past immediate first aid.
  4. If there’s more than 2,000 in aggregate property damage to the vessel or another property.
  5. If the vessel becomes a total loss.

Colliding with another vessel is the biggest risk that any boater takes, according to 2017 data from USCG, with alcohol playing a huge factor in accidents. Your clients need to remain vigilant on the water. When these things happen, be ready to report it. Next comes finding out who is liable for the accident.

How to Find Out Who is Liable for the Accident

Liability for most boating accidents is in negligence, just like with any accident that happens on the land. This means everything falls on whoever was operating the boat in the event of a claim. So if your client takes the boat out and they happen to be aware of bad weather, they capsize the boat because of a wave or they don’t have the right equipment on board, they are the ones liable. If a liability waiver was signed, then your client is released from legal liability.

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.