After a boating accident, the shock and adrenaline that results can cause confusion. Below are some important steps to take to protect yourself and others.

First, get to safety as fast as possible. If there’s a chance of fire or explosion aboard the boat, move yourself and others away from the vessel. Cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia, so it’s important to get out of the water if you fell overboard.

If your boat is in distress, use the International Distress Call on Channel 16: “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.” Then, state the following:

  • The call sign or name of the boat and repeat it three times,
  • Your name, location, and the problem,
  • Any injuries and the type of help you need,
  • A description of the vessel in distress,
  • Whether the vessel it is “seaworthy,” meaning able to be operated on the water, and
  • Your radio’s listening frequency and schedule.

By providing this information quickly and correctly, you can help California’s emergency responders find you and assist with the accident as soon as possible.

Reporting a Boat Accident in San Diego, CA

According to the ABCs of California Boating manual, boat operators involved in an accident must provide information to the Coast Guard in a timely fashion. In event of a death or disappearance, they must report the accident to law enforcement officials immediately.

Boat owners or operators must also issue a written report of a boating accident to the California Division of Boating and Waterways within 48 hours when the following occurs:

  • A person disappears,
  • Someone dies within 24 hours of the incident,
  • A person sustains injuries that require care beyond first aid,
  • The total damage to all vessels and property involved is more than $500, and/or
  • There is complete loss of a vessel.

When other incidents occur that require a written accident report, the owner or operator must issue the report within 10 days of the accident.

Know the Boating ‘Rules of the Road’

Before getting on the water, review the ABCs of California Boating safety manual by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, which includes emergency and accident procedures.

Getting Legal Help After a Boating Accident

If you’ve been injured, appropriate medical care is the first priority after a boating accident. It’s important to then contact an attorney with a strong background in maritime law. Together, you can protect your legal rights and seek compensation for medical bills and other losses related to your injuries. Feel free to contact at CaseyGerry (619) 238-1811 to speak with an experienced lawyer.

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