When an injury happens in a boat or other sea vessel, the owner of the boat and its management are exposed to liability. However, one of the best ways to cushion yourself against cases with high profile maritime attorneys is to ensure that all safety procedures are duly observed. But what does the maritime laws dictate with respect to this?
Vessel safety check
You ought to get regular safety checks to ensure that your vessel is fully compliant with the law. In cases when a problem is discovered during the safety check, it should be rectified immediately. Remember that the local authorities will do this for free and therefore no need to keep worrying about the cost implications.
Before any of your boats sets out to see, it is prudent to ensure that you have filed a float plan. This is a detailed description of the journey you are about to set on, the activities you will be involved in, the final destination, the people who are on board, emergency
contacts and details about the boat. Filing such a plan is recommended for boats of all sizes.
Life Jackets and boats
Your vessels should provide enough life jackets for all the people on board. The jackets should be in good condition and available for people of different sizes and ages. Remember that everyone aboard should be educated on the safety measures they should take in case of an emergency. You should also ensure that there are enough life boats to evacuate everyone in the vessel.
The vessel crew
Your crew should be knowledgeable and skilled to ensure that they can take care of everyone aboard. They should also understand first aid in case of injuries. Most, if not all members of your crew should have knowledge on how the boats is operated.
It is essential to take out insurance. As a boat owner, in the event of a fatal accident, you may be found liable for the accident and asked to compensate the people on board. In such a case, the amount could be anywhere from a few thousand to millions. It is therefore prudent to have a comprehensive third party policy to cater for such times.
Encourage responsible behavior
You don’t have control over the behaviour of your guests but it is good to let them know that they need to be responsible. Being drunk or high on drugs affects one’s response to emergency situations which in turn may affect the level of injury or in some cases may lead to death. Discourage them from drug use or excessive alcohol while aboard. You may have policies that restrict entry to certain areas if the individual is drunk.