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Navigating the waters comes with its share of uncertainties, and in the unfortunate event of a boating accident, it's essential to know what type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating. 

This article serves as a guiding beacon for boaters, both seasoned and recreational, providing crucial insights into what type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating. We unravel the complexities of boating accident reporting, shedding light on the legal requirements, various report types—ranging from federal to state-specific—and the critical timelines for submission.

Whether you're a seasoned sailor or a recreational boater, understanding these procedures is key to ensuring legal compliance and, most importantly, promoting safety on the water.

What Type of Report Must Be Filed If There Is an Accident While Boating?

What Is Reporting a Boating Accident?

Reporting a boating accident is informing the appropriate authorities about an incident that occurred while operating a boat. This is a crucial step in ensuring that all parties involved receive the necessary assistance and that the incident is properly documented for insurance and legal purposes.

Boating accident reporting requirements and procedures vary depending on jurisdiction and accident severity. Immediate reporting is needed in some cases, while others allow several days to pass. Not reporting can lead to fines or jail time, so follow your area's requirements.

What Kind of Report Has to Be Made If There's a Boat Accident?

The required documentation following a maritime accident varies depending on the location and severity of the incident. Here are some reports that you must file when there's a boat accident:

  1. U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Accident Report (Form CG-3865): Predominantly utilized following marine mishaps, this form is recognized by most states.
  2. State-Specific Marine Incident Report: Certain states mandate distinct reporting procedures.
  3. Law Enforcement Report: Incidents resulting in mortality or grievous injury necessitate a police report.

what type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating

When Must a Boating Accident Report Be Filed?

In Florida, the type of report that needs to be filed after a boating accident depends on the severity and consequences of the accident. A boating accident has:

  1. Fatalities: If an accident results in a fatality, it must be reported immediately and no later than 48 hours after the accident.
  2. Injuries Requiring Medical Attention: Reporting accidents involving injuries that need medical attention beyond basic treatment within 48 hours is also necessary.
  3. Missing Persons: If someone goes missing from a boat due to suspected injury or drowning, this must also be reported within 48 hours.
  4. Damages Over $2,000: Reports must be filed within ten days of the incident if there is personal property damage totalling more than $2,000, including boats.
  5. The boat is destroyed.

Failure to report an accident and render aid are criminal offences. It's important to familiarize oneself with applicable laws and regulations to avoid potential penalties for non-compliance in the event of an accident.

what type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating

Information That Has to Be Put to the Written Report on Boating Accidents

When filing a written boating accident report, the following information must be included:

- Identifiers and contact details of the vessel operator, proprietor, and other involved entities.
- Registration and identification particulars of the implicated vessels.
- Insurance specifics of the parties involved.
- Temporal, spatial, and environmental details of the incident.
- Vessel velocities at the incident's juncture.
- Causative factors and circumstances of the incident, encompassing alcohol, drugs, equipment malfunction, operator error, etc.
- Summarization of the incident: Extent and valuation of damages, injury types, severity, and medical intervention requirements.

It is essential to provide accurate and complete information in the written boating accident report, as it can help determine the liability and compensation for the accident. It can also help prevent similar accidents from happening in the future by identifying any safety issues or violations.

what type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating

Who Do You Report a Boating Accident to in Florida?

Any boating accident in Florida needs to be reported to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

You can also report boat accidents to the following authorities as quickly as possible:

  1. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Law Enforcement.
  2. The county sheriff (at the location of the collision).
  3. The municipality's police department, where the incident took place.

Reporting method: The report can be filed by the quickest means possible, such as calling 9-1-1, radioing local authorities, or going to shore and reporting the accident there.

Report Timelines

A report must be filed within 10 days of a boating accident that causes more than $2,000 in damage to boats or other property, there is complete loss of any vessel, or a person dies more than 24 hours after the accident.

Why Is It Important for My Lawyer to Know If a Written Boating Accident Report Was Filed?

Your attorney must know if a written boating accident report was filed. It can help build a strong case by providing necessary information about the accident, such as determining fault and assessing damages.

To determine legal liability for the expenses and impacts resulting from the boating accident, you and your attorney must prove the following elements in your claim:

  1. The boat operator was responsible for ensuring your safety and protecting your property.
  2. The boat operator failed to exercise reasonable care, breaching this duty.
  3. This breach led to the boating accident in which you were injured.

Failure to file a report when required can lead to legal repercussions, including potential fines and jail time. Therefore, your attorney needs to know whether a report was filed to understand the accident's circumstances better and build a strong case on your behalf.

Accessing Forms and Resources

Most states, including Florida, offer their specific boating accident report forms. Contact your state's boating authority for information. A standard federal form (cg3865barform2008) is widely accepted and can be found at To report an accident, you can search for the form by its title or using the keywords "accident reporting." Once you have the form, make sure to file it with the state's boating authority where the accident occurred or where the boat is registered or primarily used. The state authority will forward the form to the Coast Guard if necessary.

Wrap Up!

Understanding and complying with the specificities of "what type of report must be filed if there is an accident while boating" is crucial for every boat operator. In the unfortunate event of an accident, being prepared and knowledgeable about these protocols can significantly impact the resolution process. Consider seeking expert legal advice for further assistance or queries regarding boating accident reports. Professionals in this field can offer you comprehensive guidance and support, ensuring your boating experiences are safe and compliant with the law. Contact Browning Law today for a free consultation regarding boating accidents in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Get expert guidance and legal representation from Browning Law.

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