Who is Responsible for Avoiding a Collision between Two Boats?

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One of the significant risks related to boating is accidents. Some of them might be the result of hazardous weather, but accidents happen due to the negligence of operators. In case your boat collides, keep a few points in your mind while trying to fix the mishap.

  1. Make sure that all the passengers are wearing a PFD or a life jacket.
  2. Call out for all the people and make sure that they’re safe.
  3. Look for other crafts in the vicinity who might offer help. You can also pick up the VHF radio to summon help.
  4. Determine if there is a chance of getting hit by another boat.
  5. Check for water leakage in the hull and determine other damage.
  6. Signal the need for assistance.

What are the reasons for boat collisions?

It has often been reported that boats collide due to human error and sometimes due to bad weather conditions. Often boats collide due to the miscalculation of miles between two boats. Following are the reasons for boat collision:

Turning the boat on auto-pilot

If the skipper is distracted and ignores the boats in the vicinity, then a head-on collision is probable. An example of a crash due to a boat on autopilot is the collision in the Anegada passage. The collision took place between Anguilla/St. Martin and the Virgin Islands.

Heavy fog

Due to heavy fog, the vision gets blurry. In many situations, the boats do not have a working foghorn, or the driver fails to use it. Always remember that a vessel does not have a brake. Therefore, it is difficult to put a boat standstill right before the collision.

Drunk driving

Many times collisions happen due to drunk driving. This error is one of the main reasons for accidents.

Low light

Most of the boat collisions happen during the night and early morning when there is low light. So, every boat owner should use a special marine masthead light on top of their boats.

Who is responsible for boat collisions?

In a boat collision, the parties responsible can be the owner, the operator of the boat, the rental company, or even a passenger. In the United States, there are about 12,00,000 boats registered, and every year more than 5,000 boats undergo collisions or different accidents. Even if the accidents are not severe, they suffer many injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, etc.

How can boat collisions be avoided?

There are a few ways to avoid a collision:

Safe speed

If the boat’s speed is safe, there are high chances that a collision can be avoided. A safe speed is a speed at which boats are controlled efficiently. This will allow you to control the boat even in a dangerous situation.

Determine the risk of collision

As a boat owner/operator, you should determine the possibility of your boat collision.

Common violations:

  • The boat fails to make a proper lookout for other boats possible for collision.
  • Excessive speed often leads to uncontrollable action of the vessel. Overspeeding also causes the boat to overturn or skid.