What You Must Do If Involved in an Accident
Federal and state laws require that boaters provide assistance to any person in danger due to an accident or any other cause of distress if you can do so without serious danger to your boat or the people on board.
- Notify emergency personnel immediately.
- Protect people first; save property later.
- Assist people needing help to stay afloat.
- Give first aid to injured persons.
The law protects you from liability when providing assistance or medical treatment in good faith.
At the scene of a serious injury, missing person, boat fire, sinking, or any other situation involving immediate risk to a person:
- Dial 911, or call the local fire department or sheriff's office.
- Contact authorities with a "mayday" call using channel 16 on a VHF marine radio. See "Summoning Help" in Chapter 5.
- Provide immediate assistance as needed to prevent further injury or drowning if you can do so safely.
For minor injury and property damage accidents:
- Contact law enforcement authorities.
- Provide first aid, and help injured persons reach medical treatment.
- Recover and secure damaged property if you can do so safely.
If involved in an accident you also must:
- Give your name, address, and boat identification to any injured person and the owner of any damaged boat.
- File a written report as required if your boat was involved (see next page).