Recreational boating is very common for people living around water. Although many residents venture out in their boats and jet skis when the weather allows, such activities also increase the likelihood of potentially fatal boating accidents.
This is especially the case in Tennessee, where boating accidents are common among youngsters. If you’re a Tennessee resident, you need a boating license, especially if you were born after 1988.
So, what exactly are the causes of boating accidents? It’s simple – not adhering to rules, laws, and regulations. Sometimes, it’s not the boat driver but someone else who didn’t follow the rules and regulations.
As per the Coast Guard’s recreational boating statistics, an operator’s lack of attention is the most common cause of boating accidents. Sometimes, even passengers are involved in collisions. They can slip and fall, leading to severe injuries.
In addition to that, a few other reasons, like excessive speed, alcohol use, or in some cases, machinery failure, cause boating accidents. These causes have a high risk for fatalities, which is why it’s essential that, as an individual, you are responsible when onboard or operating a vessel.
Summer is when families choose a vacation spot with many lakes or rivers, like Tennessee. The state is an ideal destination for those who love participating in recreational water activities such as boating.
Factors like alcohol consumption, reckless boating, or even machinery failure mainly occur during summer.
After all, to keep yourself, your friends, or family members out of harm’s way, you must be aware of the safety measures. For that reason, Tennessee boating laws have been set to prevent vacationers’ vacations from turning into a nightmare.
As stated earlier, boating accidents can occur at any time despite precautions or safety measures. So, what should you do in case disaster strikes?
Let’s discuss it in detail.
Things to do after a boating accident
Here are a few steps to take to minimize the damage after an accident.
1. Contact the Emergency Medical Services
Most boating accidents, like falling or slipping are likely to cause potentially fatal injuries. If there is a severe injury, do not waste your time thinking about the following action plan; immediately contact the emergency medical services.
If you cannot contact the medical emergency services, using a VHF Marine radio is the best way to do so. These radios have channels reserved for distress calls and are continuously monitored by the Coast Guard.
VHF marine radios are easier to use and more effective for communication than mobile phones. Moreover, despite the weather conditions, the radio emits detectable signals. Channel 16 is a distress channel used for emergencies only.
2. Ensure Safety
Keeping everyone safe on board must be your top priority after a boating accident. There are a few things you must remember. For instance, if the boat is still intact or afloat after a boating accident, do a head count to ensure every passenger is on board.
Until the emergency medical services arrive, check for first aid and treat those who sustained injuries. While administrating care, get in touch with medical personnel to ensure that nothing is amiss.
Don’t leave the scene of the incident, especially after ensuring everyone’s safety and providing medical care as needed. After ensuring everyone’s safety, ascertain whether the accident must be reported to the police if it hasn’t yet.
You can never predict an accident, so it is recommended to have a well-stocked boat safety kit on board at all times. It helps manage the situation and prevents the problem from escalating further.
3. Notify the Insurance Company
Once you have gotten in touch with the emergency services, the next thing you should do without wasting time is to notify the insurance company. If you have boat insurance already, filing a claim won’t be an issue.
There is always a possibility that you are reimbursed for the damages in case of disaster. Remember that filing a claim only works in your favor if you prove the injuries sustained resulted from someone’s negligence.
Besides the boat owner, if someone else was navigating the vessel, they are also liable. On top of that, if they also have insurance, chances are it contributes to the settlement.
Since boating laws vary from state to state, you must know your rights and figure out what you need to do to recover for damages or injuries.
4. Document the Accident
Once you assess the scene of the incident, start the documentation process. Photos followed by videos are the best form of documentation.
Specifically, look for things like other boats and if they are at a safe distance. Once you have ensured that, document the damages to the boat and personal injuries.
Information like telephone numbers, names, addresses, and even the vessel’s registration number can also be documented. Ask for the witness’s statement or contact information to get in touch if the moment arises.
Every piece of information is critical as the evidence backs up the case for insurance purposes and in the event of filing a claim.
5. Get a Physical examination
It is possible that getting into a boating accident might not yield any injury immediately, but it later causes problems. Due to that, you should never skip a physical examination. In most cases, not opting for a medical exam right after the accident is a huge mistake.
Injuries like whiplash and spinal injuries are not immediately apparent after an accident. Unlike fractures or broken bones, whiplash injuries affect the neck’s soft tissue such as muscles and tendons, causing symptoms to become apparent after a prolonged period.
Despite the accident’s severity, it must be a standard procedure to visit a medical professional to prevent fatal consequences.
Delaying a physical exam exaggerates injuries and delays the return to the original state. Although the emergency services will conduct your physical exam, in case your injuries are not apparent, pay a visit to the primary care physician.
Furthermore, you can also visit an urgent care clinic to get the much-needed medical exam if your care provider is unavailable.
Summer vacations are an ideal time to escape the heat, and heading out in boats is a great way to spend your holidays with family or friends.
However, even though boating is fun and relaxing, it does pose severe hazards and could lead to accidents. Due to that, you must take safety measures seriously to avoid consequences.
That said, even if unfortunate circumstances arise, you must be prepared to handle the situation. That means ensuring safety, contacting emergency medical services, and documenting the scene for evidence.