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What if Someone Gets Injured on My Boat?

Accidents can happen on your boatAccidents can happen when you least expect them ... when you are having a great day on the water with friends. Obviously, it's best to consider the possibility of someone getting hurt and ensuring that you have adequate liability coverage BEFORE an incident happens. Unfortunately, in today's society many people see green when they are injured, even if they know that their own behavior contributed to their accident.

As a boat owner it is your responsibility to comply with your specific state regulations pertaining to boating safety. These regulations vary from state to state ... before you register your boat each year, be sure to review the boating rules applicable to the waters in which you will be operating your boat.

Because Cole Harrison is committed to customer service ... and has been so since the company's inception in 1882 ... we offer 24/7 claims processing on all of your claims, whether it's for your boat, your personal watercraft, or your all terrain vehicle (ATV).

If you haven't yet purchased insurance for your boat, please consider liability insurance to help protect your assets should someone be injured on your boat or by your boat.

Here are some things to cover with the people on your boat before accidents happen:

PFD (personal flotation devices): Be sure every passenger on your boat knows where and selects a PFD to wear BEFORE the boat is underway. Know the swimming abilities of each passenger on your boat. If good swimmers refuse to wear their PFDs, store them where they are easily accessible to each individual. Never store PFDs under lock and key!

If someone falls overboard: Consider ... (1) His/her ability to save him/herself (Is he injured or uninjured? Is he a good swimmer? How deep is the water?) (2) What type of weather are you in? What is the water's condition?

As Skipper, you should know what do to. You should also be sure that your passengers know what to do. Review these steps and conduct drills with your family/guests: 1- Stop the boat and throw a flotation device. The rule is if it floats and it's nearby get it to him fast! A "PFD" at one point needs to be one of those items, and the sooner the better. 2- You will want to turn your boat and move in closer to your swimmer. Appoint a spotter to keep an eye on the swimmer. That person should now assume the role of a human arrow, continuously pointing at the person in the water during the recovery. 3-Approach the person in a slow deliberate manner. It's best to move slightly in windward. 4- When you are within reaching distance to the swimmer SHUT OFF THE MOTOR! 5- Assist the swimmer into the boat. 6 - Call 911 if the person is in need of immediate medical assistance. 7 - As soon as possible while the events are fresh in everyone's mind, conduct a debriefing. Try and determine the cause of the accident and review the recovery to see if anything can be learned.

Over 1,000 people die in boating accidents every year. Unfortunately, 90% of them drown. 50 percent of those deaths involve alcohol. It's tough enough to stay alert in the heat and sun but adding alcohol to this exposure intensifies the effects. Sometimes just a couple of beers are too many. When you're drinking, statistically, you're much more likely to fall overboard. Alcohol also reduces your body's ability to protect against cold water. So within minutes you may not be able to call for help, or to swim to safety. It is not uncommon for a person who is inebriated and whose head is immersed to become confused and swim down to death instead of up to safety.

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