Boat Insurance FAQ: What happens when you get into an accident?

By joanne lemna | May 5, 2016

Water and the marine environment can be harsh and unforgiving to the unprepared. About 40% of drowning deaths in Canada involve boaters and even when such an accident doesn’t result in tragic consequences a collision will surely ruin your day. You can reduce your chance of getting into an accident by becoming a responsible knowledgeable boater. Of course sometimes accidents just happen. Here are some rules to follow if you’re involved in a boating accident. 

#1: Make Sure Everyone is OK

The first step is to make sure everyone on board your vessel is accounted for and alright. If you collided with another boat check to make sure they’re all okay too. Having a basic first-aid kit on your boat and basic medical training (such as a through a  Red Cross course ) will come in handy.

#2: Decide if You Need to Call the Authorities

If someone needs medical attention or if a boat is too damaged to drive back to shore you’ll need to contact the authorities. To help them help you be as specific as you can about your location. If you can supply your latitude and longitude coordinates – a GPS is useful in this situation. The more precise information you provide the faster they’ll be able to find and help you. 

#3: Just Drive to Shore

If no one requires medical attention and your boat is operable then drive back to shore. You may only do this if no one is even slightly injured – otherwise you are obligated by law to contact the authorities and file a report.   

#4: Get the Details

To report an accident properly you’ll need to collect some information. Just like in a car collision boaters need to exchange their full name address telephone number and the boat’s name and hull ID number. You should also exchange insurance details including policy numbers as this may be required later on. Don’t forget to collect the names and contact information for any witnesses on shore or aboard other vessels. You may also want to take photos on your smartphone to document the accident. Also take stock of everything in your boat that was damaged or lost.

#5: Call Your Boat Insurance Broker

Once you’re back on shore call your insurance broker and inform them of the accident. Remember all the information you collected at the scene or dock will be needed to fill out your claim report so have it on hand or accessible.