Boating accidents occur all the time off the coast. According to data from the United States Department of Homeland Security, a majority of these accidents in 2016 were a result of two boats colliding with one another. 

Regardless of how the accident occurred, the only thing that matters afterward is maintaining the safety and well-being of all people involved. You also want to make sure you comply with all laws and regulations to avoid a trip to jail. Here are the steps to always take should you find yourself involved in a boating accident.

1. Keep everyone safe

Check on people on all boats involved. You should have a first aid kit and other supplies on the vessel for these kinds of situations. In the event someone requires immediate medical attention, you need to contact emergency services. Harbor control can take someone to an ambulance at the shore in the event your boat cannot make it back to land. 

2. Report the incident

The law requires boat owners to report any accidents that occur at sea. This is mandatory if the accident results in damages exceeding $500, which most of the time it does. You have a maximum of 10 days to submit a report, but you should do it as soon as possible. 

3. Collect evidence

Record as much evidence as you can of the incident. This can include photographs of the damage to all boats involved. Pictures of the weather can also help. This evidence will come in handy later when you go to submit a personal injury or insurance claim. 

4. Gather insurance information

In the event the collision involves two boats, the owners of both vessels should exchange insurance information. When you contact your insurance provider to submit a claim, you will need to provide information about the other boat owner. If the accident resulted in serious injury or death, then you will want to contact a boating accident attorney before speaking to your insurance provider.