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Filing a Boat Accident Report: Is It Necessary?

file boating accident report

Boating is a popular way to get out on the water and enjoy some time outside, especially in the spring and summer months. While boating is fun and exciting for everyone, it does come with risks, and boating accidents are common. There are certain critical steps to take after a boat collision. One of the biggest questions parties wonder is, “When is a written boating accident report required?” Usually, if the circumstances of your accident make it necessary to report it, you only have 48 hours to do so.


What Is a Boat Accident Report?


If you’re involved in a boating accident, depending on the details of your crash, you may need to fill out and file a boat accident report.

Aside from asking, “When is a written boating accident report required?” many wonder what the report entails. This special report includes vital information about the boat collision, including:

  • The name and information of the parties involved
  • Vessel information
  • Insurance information
  • The time and location of the accident
  • The conditions at the time of the collision, including the weather, water conditions, and visibility
  • The estimated speed at the time of the crash
  • The cause of the accident
  • The damage and injuries that resulted

Along with reporting a boat accident, individuals involved in the crash, especially the at-fault party, have specific duties, including:

  • Stopping and remaining at the scene of the accident
  • Rendering aid if needed
  • Taking down important information
  • Exchanging information with the other party

Boat accident reports are important for several reasons, but they are especially helpful if you’re injured in a collision and wish to seek compensation for your losses.

When Is a Written Boating Accident Report Required?


Formally reporting a boat accident is required under certain circumstances. If your collision involves any of the following circumstances, under federal law, you must report the crash:

  • A death
  • Injuries that require more extensive medical treatment than just first aid
  • Disappearance from the vessel that indicates severe injury or death
  • Damage to boats or property that totals $2,000 or more
  • Destruction of a vessel

If your boat accident is minor, and none of these apply, you do not need to file a report. However, the law requires you to report it if your accident is more severe.

How Long Do You Have to File Your Boat Accident?


boating accident report

Along with understanding the answer to the question, “When is a written boating accident report required?” you must also know how long you have to file the report. When you experience a boating collision, the law only allows you a limited amount of time to submit a report.

If your boat accident falls under any qualifying circumstances, you only have 48 hours to file your boat accident report. However, if earlier reporting is not required, you have ten days after a death or other occurrence related to the accident.

You can report a boat accident to the police in the city where it occurred or the state reporting authority. Or, you can fill out and submit a Recreational Boating Accident Report form provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Consequences for Failing to File an Accident Report After a Boat Crash


If you have to report a boating accident in which you were involved, and you fail to do so, you could potentially face repercussions.

Typically, it is a misdemeanor to avoid filing a boat accident report. Penalties vary but could include fines and jail time.

It is also illegal to flee the scene of a boating accident. You face additional punishment if you leave the scene of a boat crash.

Common Causes of Most Boating Accidents


Boat accidents happen for many reasons, but most crashes involve boater negligence. Some of the most common causes of boat collisions include:

  • Operator distraction
  • Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Improper lookout
  • Lack of operator training or experience
  • Speeding

If you’re involved in a boating accident and sustain injuries, discuss your situation with a boat accident lawyer as soon as possible to decide the next steps for your claim.

Injuries Resulting from Boat Crashes


If you’re asking yourself, “When is a written boating accident report required?” you should know that it is most certainly required when injuries are involved.

Boating injuries typically depend on the cause of the collision and resulting accident. Some of the most common injuries boat accident victims are at risk of sustaining include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Internal injuries

In the most unfortunate cases, boating accidents can result in death. If a loved one has died after a boat collision, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your untimely loss by filing a wrongful death action. A boat accident attorney can provide helpful navigation.

Do You Have Rights if You Sustained Injuries in a Boat Collision?


Yes, if you suffer injuries in a boating accident, you may have the right to seek monetary recovery.

Often, boat crashes arise out of negligent operation. When another party’s negligence is the cause of your harm, you can pursue justice and compensation for the physical injuries, mental distress, and financial losses associated with the crash.

An attorney with experience handling boating accident cases can provide the best legal guidance and support and help you protect your rights.

After a Boat Accident, Act Quickly and Consult with a Boat Accident Lawyer


when is a written boating accident report required? Do not wait to speak to a qualified attorney if you’re involved in a boating accident. The accident lawyers at The Joel Bieber Firm are ready to provide exceptional representation on the path to monetary recovery. After a boating accident, contact us to request your complimentary consultation.

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