What To Do After An Accident On The Water


In a perfect world, following a robust Boating Safety Checklist would be enough to keep you safe on the open waters. Unfortunately even the most safety-conscious boater is not able to control every external element that could pose a danger. From bad weather to inexperienced (or intoxicated) other boaters, things can get bad in the blink of an eye.

The numbers are worse than ever now that COVID lockdowns have inspired so many people to spend more time on their boats. 

According to the US Coast Guard, the most common causes of recreational boating injuries and fatalities last year were:

  1. Collision with recreational vehicle
  2. Flooding / swamping
  3. Collision with fixed object
  4. Grounding
  5. Falling overboard

Those events are all pretty grim to think about, but the good news is that these accidents are largely preventable. Looking at the top ten contributing factors for accidents, less than half of them are outside of the operator’s control. They are:

  1. Operator inattention
  2. Operator inexperience
  3. Improper lookout
  4. Excessive speed
  5. Machinery failure
  6. Excessive speed
  7. Alcohol use
  8. Weather
  9. Hazardous waters
  10. Force of wave / wake

If you do have an accident while on the water – regardless of the cause – it’s very important that you follow proper procedures:

  1. You must stop and identify yourself, your vessel, your home port, as well as your ports of origin and destination to the other vessels.
  2. If it is safe to do so, you must aid the crew of the other vessel.
  3. If the damage exceeds $1,000 or the seaworthiness of either vessel is jeopardised, you must submit an accident report with the local authorities.
  4. If significant injury or death has resulted from the collision, you are obligated by law to notify the local law enforcement agency.

Contact us to learn about all the ways we can help keep you safe on the water. 


1815 Mast Tower Road
Vancouver, BC, V6H 3X7

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