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What To Do in a Boating Accident

The best ways to avoid boating accidents are simple: be familiar with the basics of boating safety and carefully observe all the rules of water.  However, even the most careful boater cannot control the actions of the other boaters on the water or make them be careful.  As the boating season wraps up for the year, take some time to consider the following tips on what to do if you are ever involved in a boating accident.
  • Determine if anyone has been thrown overboard.  Throw them a life preserver, life jacket, or other personal flotation device.  Most people are not strong enough swimmers to save a drowning person by jumping in the water to get them.  Even throwing a rope or anything else the person can grab onto is better.
  • Determine if anyone needs first aid or medical attention.  Apply first aid as circumstances permit.
  • Render any aid to any other vessel involved if you are able.
  • Call the Coast Guard or other law enforcement agency to report the accident.  Accidents must be reported when there has been a death, medical attention beyond first aid is needed, property damage over $2000 has occurred, or the vessel is not repairable.
  • Once everyone is safely onboard and any medical attention has been provided, exchange information with the other vessel.  Ask for and provide name, address, and telephone number of each person on board and any other witnesses; name and registration number of the boat; insurance company; and the insurance policy number.
  • Take photographs of any damage to the boat and any visible injuries to a person.
  • File a boating accident report with the Coast Guard and any appropriate state or local agency.
  • Contact an experienced Michigan boating accident lawyer for help in filing insurance claims and to determine if you have a legal claim against the other boater.
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