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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?
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.