Boat accident injury compensation claims

In the following guide we explain everything you should know about making a successful boat accident compensation claim.

How much can I claim?

Boat accidents and marine accidents generally can have serious consequences. Tourists are particularly at risk as they are more likely to participate in water sports and boating activities in waters that they are unfamiliar with.

Across Europe, an estimated 47,000 water sports and boating accidents occur every year.

Some people injured in boat accidents are reluctant to investigate their options for compensation, believing the process of claiming compensation for an accident on holiday to be too complicated.

Our network of solicitors do not currently have the capacity to take on holiday-related injury and sickness claims outside the UK. It is recommended that you contact a personal injury specialist solicitor to discuss your options as soon as possible, as some jurisdictions have limitation dates of less than the three year limit that is standard in the UK.


Do I have a claim for a boat accident?

If you were injured in a boat accident in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

Do I have a claim?

Common accidents on small boats and yachts

Collisions with other boats

Smaller boats tend to congregate in ports, harbours and close to the shore. The likelihood of colliding with other watercraft in these areas is therefore higher.

Collisions often result in injuries like whiplash and bruising

Falling aboard the boat or overboard

Reckless driving or fast manoeuvring can make smaller boats unsteady. This causes passengers to fall, and even fall overboard, resulting in injuries like concussion, fractures and broken bones, as well as back injuries.

The trauma of falling into the water can also result in very real psychological harm if the affected person develops a fear of water, boats, swimming or related activities.

Common accidents on board large boats, cruise liners and ships

Quittance's solicitors have assisted with a variety of travel and holiday related accidents.

Slips or trips

Slipping, tripping or falling commonly results in injury on board boats for several reasons. Firstly, decking and other outdoor areas can become wet from sea spray or rain. This creates a slippery surface.

Choppy sea conditions can also cause people to lose their balance or footing. Suitable floor coverings, handholds and signs should be in place to prevent avoidable slip injuries.

Items falling

On board boats and ships, luggage or other items can become dislodged from overhead storage and fall out, causing injury. This is especially risky during rough weather conditions.

As with slips and falls aboard ship, the operator of the vessel should take reasonable precautions to prevent such accidents.


People falling ill on cruise liners is not uncommon. Travellers are likely to come in to contact with many other people on board the ship, meaning the illness can spread quickly.

The operator of the cruise ship should take all appropriate action to reduce the likelihood of passengers developing any water or food-borne illnesses, and should have in place procedures to prevent further contamination if someone on board does become sick.

Common causes of boating accidents

Accidents on boats can be caused by a number of factors:

  • Intoxication - if the driver is intoxicated they are more likely drive dangerously and to be involved in an accident
  • Recklessness - speeding and dangerous manoeuvring
  • Driver distraction - using mobile phones, listening to loud music etc
  • Equipment failure
  • Unlicensed and inexperienced driver
  • Hazardous areas
  • Driving in bad weather conditions

Compensation claims may be made in relation to all of these scenarios, even in some cases if the injured person contributed towards the accident or their injuries. This is know as split-liability and a solicitor will be able to advise further on this point.

Time limits to making a boat or ship accident claim

In the UK the time limit for regular injury claims is normally three years from the date of the accident. However, accidents on boats, ships, yachts and cruise liners can be covered by separate regulations. Varying time limits also apply to accidents abroad.

In some circumstances you must make a claim within two years of the date of the accident. Call us on 0800 612 7456 to confirm applicable time limits.

Ascertaining liability

The driver, captain or company operator of the boat is responsible for the health and well-being of the passengers. This person or company owes a duty of care to passengers to operate the boat safely at all times.

Failure to operate the boat safely could mean that this party may be found to have been negligent and liable to pay compensation.

No Win, No Fee boat accident claims explained

No Win, No Fee injury claims effectively start with an injured party agreeing to a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a CFA) with a solicitor.

A Conditional Fee Agreement is, in essence, the contract between the personal injury solicitor and you.

The agreement sets out the service executed by the solicitor handling your case and a percentage success fee to be deducted from your award when the claim is won.

You are able to focus on your rest and recovery, knowing that there will be nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset. There are no hidden charges when choosing a Quittance personal injury solicitor.

Calculate my boat accident compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

How much can I claim?

Meet the team

The national network of Quittance solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of compensation claim, from fast track cases to life-changing injuries. Selected for their success rate in winning claims, our lawyers have years of experience.

Meet more of the QLS team: click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert