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It's the Law

Boating Accidents and Casualties

If you are operating a vessel and know (or reasonably should have known) that you have been involved in an accident involving death, personal injury, or damages to property, you must:

  • Immediately stop at the scene of the accident and…
  • Render any assistance that you are capable of giving to others involved in the accident and…
  • Give your name and address, the vessel registration number, and the name and address of each occupant to the operator or owner of any other vessel, any injured person, and the owner of any damaged property.

If you are not able to give the above information due to a person’s injury, location, inability to comprehend, or any other cause, this information must be given to a Marine Patrol officer or other police officer with jurisdiction arriving at the scene of the accident or immediately to an officer at the nearest police station or at Marine Patrol headquarters.

Any person operating a vessel that is involved in an accident must submit a written accident report to the Marine Patrol Bureau within 15 days after the accident. This is required when anyone is injured or killed or if damage to property exceeds $2,000. If the operator is physically or mentally incapable of making the accident report, it is the responsibility of the owner.

You must follow the above requirements if you are involved in a boating accident.

  • It is a Class A misdemeanor to fail to file the accident report or to fail to comply with the requirements that apply when an accident results in property damage.
  • It is a Class B felony to give false information about an accident or to fail to comply with the requirements that apply when an accident results in death or personal injury.