Reporting boating accidents

What is the first action to take after a boat collision?

You should check if anyone requires medical attention. Make sure everyone are equipped with a life jacket or a PFD to guarantee their safety.

When is a boat operator required to submit an accident report?

Federal law states that if you are involved in a boating accident that includes injury requiring medical treatment, death, disappearance of a person, or property damage, you are required to stop, identify yourself and your boat, and give help as needed. You should contact the responsible local law enforcement agency. Additionally, you are required to file an accident report with the state boating authority.

What should you do if you are in an accident involving injury, death, or disappearance?

  • You are required to stop and give assistance to other persons involved. You must give aid to the extent you can do so without endangering yourself or your passengers.
  • You are also required to give your name and address and the number of your vessel, in writing, to the owner of any property damaged in the accident.

Boating accidents include; capsizing, crew overboard, collisions, fire, sinking & flooding, explosions and disappearance.

What happens if you fail to report a boating accident?


Failure to provide assistance or identify yourself when involved in an accident is a serious offense and can carry a severe fine or even imprisonment.