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Beware when hiring boats while on holiday

Boating holidays provide an excellent way of experiencing the UK’s network of inland waterways and the vast majority of the many trips completed each year are safe and uneventful. But a serious situation can quickly develop from benign circumstances if adequate precautions are not in place to mitigate the risks associated with controlling the boat and preventing people from falling overboard.

But in August 2020, a mother-of-three in her 30’s drowned after becoming entangled in rope which then was caught in the propeller during a family boating holiday in the Norfolk Broads.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch report found that if an adequate guardrail had been fitted it would have been unlikely that she would have fallen overboard from the rear deck as the boat made hard contact with an embankment wall.

The investigation also found that both the 10-minute boat handover, which happened while the group’s luggage was being loaded, and the documentation provided to the family were insufficient to ensure that the hire party were competent to drive a boat with “dual-helm control”.

The chief inspector of marine accidents, Andrew Moll, said “Large motor cruisers with sophisticated controls are becoming increasingly common and are often driven by members of the public who have limited or no proficiency in boat handling.”

Handovers, including in-water demonstrations, and hire boat documentation need to be complete and rigorous in order to ensure that hirers have sufficient proficiency to safely handle the vessel in their charge.

What you need to consider before hiring a boat

Before booking a boating holiday, if you are planning on being responsible for controlling the vessel ensure you are confident that you understand how the controls work, the rules and laws of the waterway as the safety and risks of the boat itself for you and all your passengers are in your hands. If you’ve never driven a boat of the size of type, don’t depend on the hire company to give you a crash course. Instead choose a boat you are comfortable with and know how to drive or hire a boat with a captain.

And just like you would when buying or hiring a car, make sure you inspect every inch of the vessel for anything that could be a safety risk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because once you are on the water it may be too late.

We can help you make a boating accident claim

We have a friendly & local Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Law Team that has a strong local reputation not only for helping our clients make a successful claim, but we happen to have one the highest client satisfaction rates in the country.

We offer a free initial consultation to hear your story, understand what happened, it’s effect on your life and help determine if you have grounds for a successful claim.

We will take all the financial risk and represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis – so it won’t cost you any money throughout the process of filing your claim, and if you don’t win you won’t owe us a penny.

Speak to a member of our Personal Injury team today in Mansfield and Ashfield on 01623468468 or in Nottingham on 01159105555.

Alternatively use the enquiry form below and an experienced member of our team will be in touch within 24 hours.


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