Table of Contents

Download the PDF Version

It's the Law

Boating Accidents and Casualties


An operator involved in a boating accident must:

  • Stop his or her vessel immediately at the scene of the accident and…
  • Assist anyone injured or in danger from the accident, unless doing so would seriously endanger his or her own vessel or passengers and…
  • Give, in writing, his or her name, address, and vessel identification to anyone injured and to the owner of any property damaged by the accident.

Vessel operators involved in an accident must report the accident to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

  • The operator must report the accident in writing to IDNR within 48 hours of the occurrence in cases that result in death, disappearance, or personal injuries requiring medical treatment.
  • The operator must report the accident in writing to IDNR within five days if damage to the vessel and/or other property exceeds $2,000.

Accidents should be reported on accident report forms available from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Report forms are available online on IDNR’s website: www.iowadnr.gov.

Top Three Boating Accidents in Iowa

  • A boat collides with an object while cruising.
  • A water-skier, tuber, or kneeboarder falls.
  • A boat is operated in a reckless manner.