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It's the Law

Boating Accidents


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 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 nearest law enforcement officer by the quickest possible means if the accident has caused:

  • Injury to or death of any person or …
  • Disappearance of any person under circumstances that indicate the possibility of death or injury.

Accidents also must be reported in writing to the Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW), using a boating accident report form. Report forms are available online on the DIFW website: www.maine.gov/ifw.

  • The operator must report the accident in writing within 24 hours if a person dies, disappears under circumstances that indicate the possibility of death or injury, loses consciousness, receives medical treatment, or is disabled for more than 24 hours.
  • The operator must report the accident in writing within 72 hours if damage to the vessel or other property exceeds $1,000.