Proper boat safety starts with you, the boat owner. You might consider taking a boating safety course so you know what to do in an emergency. Knowing how to trailer your boat is also a must as you need to change the way you drive with a boat behind you. And of course, always ask yourself if you have the right insurance coverage for your boat. You don’t want any surprises if you’re involved in an accident
On the water, accidents can happen to even cautious, well-trained boaters. If you're involved in a boating accident, it's important to know the requirements for reporting it to the proper authorities.
Boat accident reporting requirements
After an accident, U.S. federal regulations (33 CFR 173.55) require the operator of any vessel that is numbered or used for recreational purposes (in this case, a boat) to submit an accident report. Individual states may have their own requirements for reporting accidents, but, in general, you must report an accident when:
- A person dies,
- A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first-aid,
- A person disappears from the boat under circumstances that indicate death or injury, or
- Damage to the boat and other property totals more than $2,000, or there is a complete loss of the vessel.
Who should report the boating accident?
The boat operator must submit the report to authorities in the state or U.S. territory where the accident happened. If the operator is unable to, then the boat owner must submit the report.
Reports should be made within 48 hours of the accident if a person is killed, injured or missing. If only the boat or property was damaged, you have up to 10 days to report the accident. After reporting the boating accident to the authorities, contact your State Farm® agent. You can also start, then track, an existing claim online. And check out more boating safety, insurance and maintenance articles.