Reporting an Accident
Vessel operators involved in an accident must report it by the quickest means possible if the accident results in:
- Death or the disappearance of a person from a vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury or…
- Injury requiring first aid or medical attention or…
- Property damage exceeding $2,000 to all vessels, docks, etc. involved in the accident.
In the case of a reportable accident, the operator or owner must file an accident report form supplied by the Georgia DNR.
Most reports of accidents must be made within 5 days of the accident. However, you must report an accident within 48 hours if a person:
- Dies within 24 hours as a result of the accident or…
- Is disabled for more than 24 hours or…
- Requires medical treatment for injuries or…
- Disappears from a vessel.
Video: Georgia Accident Reporting Law
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You need to know what to do if you see or are involved in an accident. And here to help us out, we have conservation ranger Mike Burgamy.
- Sergeant Mike Burgamy
Well, if you find yourself involved in a boating accident or what you think might be an accident, there’s certain things you need to think about and do. First of all, let’s talk about minor. If your boat incurs damage of $2,000 or more, it is a reportable accident. If it’s less than $2,000, it’s not reportable. If you have a person who has to have treatment beyond first aid, then that’s a reportable accident. OK, so with minor accidents, they need to be reported within five days. Now let’s talk about the major side, if you have serious injury or death. If you have an accident of that magnitude, where someone dies, or disappears from a vessel for more than 24 hours, or requires medical treatment beyond first aid, that has to be reported within 48 hours. Bottom line is, if you find yourself in an accident, make sure that you report it. Make sure that you exchange information with the parties involved, and first and foremost, render assistance if somebody needs it. Stop your boat immediately, and if someone needs help, help them. The law covers you; you won’t be held civilly liable if you are rendering aid in good faith.
Why would people want to report it? Do you have a good reason for that?
- Sergeant Burgamy
Sure. Most of the boats out here are really nice, and they’re covered by insurance. Although Georgia law doesn’t require you to have insurance on your vessel, a lot of times you will need an accident report to make that insurance claim. So that’s another reason why you might want to report it.