Regardless of who caused the accident, everyone involved in a Florida boat crash is required to stay at the scene, render assistance to anyone who needs it, and call the authorities to report the crash. In certain situations, you are also required to file an official report with the U.S. Coast Guard. As a responsible boater, it is important that you understand these requirements and take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your family, and any potential claim for damages at the scene of the accident.
When a Boating Accident Must Be Reported
If you were involved in a boating accident and believe the driver of the other boat was speeding, driving recklessly, or drunk, you should call the police or Coast Guard regardless of injuries or damage. Federal law requires that a collision on the water be reported to U.S. authorities within 48 hours of the crash if any of the following are true:
- Someone died in the crash.
- Someone was seriously injured and required medical treatment beyond first aid.
- A person is missing, and there is reason to believe they were injured or killed.
- There is damage to vessels or other property totaling $2,000 or more.
A recreational boating accident report form from the Coast Guard will ask for detailed information about the vessels and people involved, the injuries and damages sustained, and possible factors that contributed to the crash, including the following:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Excessive speed
- Overloading of the vessel
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Violations of navigation rules
- Improper anchoring
- Operator inattention or inexperience
- Machinery or equipment failure
- Sudden medical events such as seizures or heart attacks
These reports must be completed by someone from each of the boats involved in the crash. If you or someone on your boat was seriously injured and the driver of the other boat is found to be at fault, this report could help a potential personal injury claim later on.
Florida Boating Accidents Are Deadly Serious
In 2018, there were over 625 reported boating accidents in Florida, including 59 fatalities and 307 serious injuries. Residents of Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Navarre, and Niceville who are injured in boating accidents caused by irresponsible boaters should contact a boating accident attorney to discuss the possibility of holding the responsible party liable for their losses. Browning Law Firm welcomes boating accident injury claims and invites you to schedule a free initial consultation today.