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Accident Response Tips

Helpful tips for the media, public information officers and law enforcement when responding to a boating accident.

Accident reporting requirements begin with the owner or operator of a vessel involved in a boat accident. Under federal regulations (33 CFR Part 173), the operator of any numbered vessel that was not required to be inspected or a vessel that was operated for recreational purposes is required to file a boating accident report form when, as a result of an occurrence that involves the vessel or its equipment. Generally, a boating accident is reportable when:

  • A person dies
  • A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
  • A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more
  • Complete loss of any vessel, meaning that the vessel is no longer seaworthy

Here are helpful tips for the media, pubic information officers and law enforcement when responding to a boating accident.