Getting help when a catastrophe happens on the water

Being on a boat is a fun way to spend time enjoying nature. While you certainly hope that everything will go smoothly, there are times when they might not. It is imperative that you know how to call for help if there is something amiss with the vessel. You might also need this if there is a serious injury on the boat.

By law, every vessel must have specific safety equipment on it. This includes a visual distress option if the boat is used only for recreational purposes. There are stricter requirements for commercial vessels, so be sure to know what applies to the boat you are on.

When something happens, you should put up a day distress or night distress signal depending on the conditions when you need help. A distress sign during the day is an orange flag hoisted as high as possible. Nighttime distress signs include ones utilize lights or flames to alert those around you that you are in trouble.

If there is a medical emergency on the boat, including a serious injury after a boating crash, you will need to use an electronic form of communication to get care for the person. In most cases, this is through a VHF marine radio that is tuned in on Channel 16, which is reserved for emergencies only. You might also use your cellphone to get help.

It can take time for medical help to get a person having a serious issue. In some cases, such as a heart attack or a catastrophic injury, it is possible that the victim might pass away. The steps the family members of that person take after their death can vary, but they might include seeking compensation if the death was the direct result of negligence on the water.

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