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Boating Accidents in Ohio

What to do if you're involved in a boating accident

If you are involved in a collision or accident, as the vessel operator you must:

  • Stop the vessel at the scene.
  • Render assistance to anyone injured or in danger, provided you can do so without endangering your own vessel, crew and passengers.
    • Anyone who renders assistance at the scene of an accident involving a vessel is not liable in a civil action for damages or injury from any act or omission in rendering assistance, except for willful or wanton misconduct.
  • Give the operator's name and address and the boat owner's name and address and registration number to any person injured, or to the operator, owner, or attendant of any vessel damaged, or to a law enforcement officer.
  • Report the incident, if necessary.

How to report a boating accident

The vessel operator must file a full report in the following cases. If the operator is incapacitated, an officer shall file the form.

  • Loss of life or disappearance of an occupant,
  • Injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid,
  • Damage to property in excess of $500, or
  • Complete loss of a vessel.

To obtain a copy of the Boating Accident Report Form:

  • Download it [pdf 731Kb]
  • Contact a Watercraft Office.
  • Call 1-877-4BOATER (Ohio only)

Violations of watercraft law that result in injury to persons or damage to property shall constitute prima facie evidence of negligence in a civil action.

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