Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials recently reported 3 separate boating accidents that led to 6 people being injured on the same Saturday in August 2020.
The first accident was at 3:45 p.m. on Dale Hollow Lake near Willow Grove. A 17-year-old was being pulled behind a boat on a tube when it flipped. She was transported to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville with back injuries.
The second accident occurred at 6 p.m. on Watts Bar Lake when a 48-year-old man misjudged the water depth and was struck by a propeller.
The third accident occurred at 10 p.m. that same day on the Hiwassee River when 2 watercrafts crashed into each other, resulting in 4 injuries.
Boating accidents are dangerous and deadly. If you don’t know what to do, it can result in serious injury or worse. The following recommendations are provided by the U.S. Coast Guard in the event of an accident on the water.
Create a floating plan
Before boat owners or operators go on an excursion, they should create what’s called a floating plan. This plan lays out the route you plan to take, your destination, the dimensions and specifications of the craft and the number of people aboard. This gives authorities a head start if an accident should occur.
Make sure passengers are safe
If a boating accident does occur, the first thing to do is make sure everyone is accounted for and no one is injured. Next, make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket, including yourself. If anyone is in immediate danger or the boat appears to be damaged, get to dry land as soon as possible.
Call for help
Always call 911 in the event of an emergency. If there’s a VHF radio available, make a distress call on channel 16. This channel will be heard by the United States Coast Guard as well as other boats who may be nearby that can offer assistance.
Just like you would for a car accident, gather as much information as possible. Note the time, date, location and weather when the accident occurs. Be sure to take pictures of any damage and get the contact information of any passengers and witnesses.
If more than 1 boat is involved, get the contact information from the other operators and pictures of their boats as well as the make, model and registration number.
Inform insurance company
Once you’ve finished exchanging information, call your insurance company as soon as you and any passengers are safely ashore. Be as detailed as possible and always be sure to follow up with an inspection even if the damage looks minor.
Report the accident
Whether or not you called emergency services, you should report an accident within 48 hours if there was a severe injury or the damages add up to $2,000 or more. If there’s a fatality within that time because of the accident, the boat’s operator has 24 hours to report it and should be filed with state or federal law enforcement agencies.
After speaking with local authorities and the insurance company, the next person you should call is a Tennessee boating accident lawyer. The experts at Gilreath & Associates can help determine who’s ultimately responsible for the accident and recover maximum damages.