Boat dealers, boat builders, marinas, and yacht clubs alike have the opportunity to meet potential and current customers, showcase inventory, and furthermore, make sales during boat shows.

Unfortunately, there is often a heightened risk of trip and fall incidents occurring at boat shows due to the environment and setting by the water. Where such incidents occur, current or potential customers may develop some animosity toward boat show hosts and vendors, and might assert claims of liability for such incidents based on negligence, as well. Fortunately, there are proactive steps owners and boat dealers can take to help reduce the likelihood of slip and fall incidents at boat shows. Some helpful measures to take when preparing for a boat show include the following: 

Minimizing Trip Hazards

  • Clean walkways and make sure they are unobstructed and well-maintained.
  • Make sure all mats and rugs are laid flat and secured with tape on all edges.
  • Run all lines, hoses, and wires under or around walkways; never over them.
  • Use bright colors to alert pedestrians if there is any significant change in a walkway or surface.

Minimizing Fall Hazards

  • Cover ladder rungs, stairs, and vessel decks with non-skid coating or covering.
  • Make sure all stairways are fitted with hand rails at arm’s length from any point.
  • Install chains or lines at any gaps between railings.
  • Use high quality lighting for bright visibility throughout the premises.

In Water Show Concerns

  • Inspect docks to ensure there are no loose or damaged boards.
  • Install transition ramps where large gaps or elevation change exists between the gangway and the shore/dock.
  • Install approved life rings around the marine facility.
  • Keep ladders readily available for emergency use.

Follow the steps below to minimize risk during a boat show:

  • Use bright colors and/or high quality lighting to alert guests of elevated areas.
  • Require all employees/vendors to wear proper, non-skid footwear.
  • Station employees at slip and fall hazard stations and both ends of a ramp/gangway to alert guests to watch their step.
  • Make sure to walk through the premises frequently to inspect and correct any deficiencies to the set-up of the area.

- Kim Finlay 
is Vice President of Chubb's Marine Facilities Group.

This article originally appeared as “Slip and Fall Prevention during Boat Shows" on the Risk Conversation blog on November 13, 2017.


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Get More Boat Show Slip And Fall Prevention Tips

Slip and fall incidents are not uncommon at boat shows and can create serious danger and liability for marinas. Chubb’s loss control specialists provide tips on how to control risk of tripping and falling hazards.