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Boat accident in Virginia

Render assistance

In case of a collision or accident, the operator of a vessel shall render assistance as is practicable and neccessary so long as this action does not gravely endanger their own vessel, crew and passengers.

In some cases, the boater operating the vessel must submit a written accident report.

Filing an accident report

Virginia law requires the operator of a recreational vessel involved in an accident to file a written report when there is:

  • Damage over $2000 by or to the vessel or its equipment;
  • Injury (requiring medical help beyond First Aid) help or loss of life;
  • Disappearance of any person from a vessel.

A report must be submitted within 48 hours if:

  • a person dies within 24 hours of the accident;
  • a person involved is injured and cannot perform usual activities;
  • a person disappears from a vessel;

A report must be submitted within 10 days if:

  • an earlier report is not required but becomes necessary; and/or
  • the boat or property damage is in excess of $2000 or total boat loss.

Boating Accident Report forms are obtained from local law enforcement authorities, Department Conservation Police Officers, VDGIF website, and all Department offices. You may submit the completed forms in person or send them to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

The boat operator or owner usually completes the form unless he is physically unable to do so.

Boating Accident Report Forms are available at:

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