What Happens If I’m Injured in a Boating Accident?

It may be August, but summer isn’t over yet. This sunshine means it’s time for barbecues, beaches, and boating with friends and family. But have you ever been out enjoying a beautiful time on the water and suddenly wondered, ‘what happens if I get injured in a boating accident?’

Boating is a great summertime activity, but it comes with risks. Boating accidents can lead to serious, possibility fatal injuries. Within the 6 year period between 2012 and 2017 there was an average of 111 injuries each year from boating accidents, and an average of 22 fatalities yearly during the same period in Washington State.  

It’s important to be aware and prepared what steps to take if you find yourself in this kind of situation. 

Right After It Happens

Right when the accident happens, there will likely be a rush of competing emotions and lots of things happening all at once. Before anything, make sure to assess your conditions, then the condition of others around you.  If there are any serious injuries or you are in immediate danger, call emergency services right away. 

If you’re not in reach of land or your phone isn’t working, there are several methods of signally help available to you.  You can hail nearby vessels and the Coast Guard on the boat’s radio ) as long as it hasn’t been damaged in the accident. Tune to Channel 16 (156.8 MHz for VHF radios, 21-82 KHz for MF) with the name of your vessel, coordinates, and that you need immediate assistance. 

If you have bells, foghorns, or whistles, sound them off. 

If you are able to, document as much of the scene as possible. Take photos and get contact information. 

injured in boating accident

Proving Negligence after being Injured in a Boating Accident

Proving negligence in the base of being injured in a boating accident requires that you present sufficient proof that another party was at fault and the cause of the accident.

If another boater crashed into your boat for instance, you would want to provide proof that that boater was at fault. Some of the most common causes for boating accidents include negligence, high speeds, boating under the influence, inexperienced captains, or mechanical failures. 

Proving negligence depends on the situation the operator(s) or the boat were driving under. For example, if your boat collides with another boat, injured parties on either vessel may have claims against the others similar to a vehicular accident. However, if a boat hits another boat’s wake and the causes injury to passengers, the liability is dependent on variety of favors, including:

  • the boat’s speed
  • visibility conditions
  • the size of the wake
  • boat traffic in the area
  • the type of boat(s) involved (motorboat or sailboat)


If the other boater(s) involved have boaters insurance, you may be contacted by their insurance to negotiate compensation. While you are collecting contact information at the scene, also make sure to snag insurance information to help the process go smoothly.

In both motor vehicle and boating accidents, insurance companies will likely try to pay up-front without much discussion of a settlement. Do not take the first offer. 

Negotiate as much as you can. In cases like these, having an experienced personal injury firm behind you to advocate for your best wishes will do you well and help you get the compensation you deserve.

Note: If you’ve been injured in a boating accident and the at fault party doesn’t have boaters insurance you may have to open up a lawsuit against them to get the compensation you need. 

Seeking Help

If you’ve been injured in a boating accident and need legal help providing fault for personal injury claims, let our team at Evergreen Personal Injury Council help. Our agents are trained for these exact situations, and will fight on your behalf to help get you the compensation and legal help you need.