Updated: Mar 9
Under federal law, individuals who own or operate a boat are required to report any accidents that result in certain outcomes. These include the death of a person, a person requiring medical treatment beyond first aid due to injury, a person disappearing from the vessel under circumstances indicating injury or death, damage to vessels or other property totaling at least $2,000 (or lower amounts in some states and territories), or the destruction of the vessel itself.
As experts in boating accident law in Florida, we understand the importance of proper reporting in the event of an accident. That is why we are here to explain what Florida Statute 327.301 states about when boating accident reports are necessary.
Who should you report a boating accident to?
If you or a loved one were involved in a boating accident, you may be wondering who do you report the accident to? In the state of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are generally the group that you would report that type of accident to. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will then determine whether a written report is needed, where that report can be found, where to file the report and what the next steps are. You can also contact a personal injury lawyer to determine what the best way to file the report would be.
What type of boating accidents do you report?
If you are in any type of boating accident is never a bad idea to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about the accident. Now it is important to not that this doesn't necessarily mean a written boating report is needed.
Here are some examples of accidents you should report that require a report:
When two boats collide
A boat that has capsized
A boat that has sunk
If the accident involves property damage, death or injury.
This is just to name a few of the types of boating accidents you may run into, but as stated previously, never a bad idea to report it regardless.
How long do you have to file a boating accident report?
The incident should be immediately reported on the date of the incident as outlined in the statute. You can report the incident to any of the following agencies: Florida and Wildlife Conservation Commission, The County Sheriff's office, or The Police Chief Municipality where the accident occurred.
If you are trying to fill out a boating accident report online, check out the US coast guards site.
What does Florida law say about reporting boating accidents?
Florida statute states that the law requires a driver in the collision to take the necessary steps to notify law enforcement and exchange information. This protocol is very similar to that which is generally taken with a car accident. This law applies to a wide range of boating accidents and must be abided by.
On top of Florida having its own set of rules regarding boating accidents, there are also federal laws that apply as well. Those laws require reporting for incidents that involve a death, disappearance, or injury. It is important to ensure you are following both rulings.
Is It a Crime To Leave the Scene of a Boating Accident in Florida?
The short answer is yes, similar to car accidents, if the opposing party fled the scene, it would be considered a hit-and-run. Under the Florida statue, this action is actually classified as a third-degree felony if injuries were involved. If the accident only involved property damage, then the sentencing would be reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor.
What Is the Cause of Most Boating Accidents?
Some common causes of boating accidents in Florida include:
Operating under the influence, otherwise referred to as a BUI
Traveling at unsafe speeds
Being unaware of how weather can affect the waters.
Whether you boat is allowed in certain areas or not
What damages are recoverable after a boating accident?
Any damages made to your personal vessel or property, medical transportation or bills, and lost wages can be covered. A boating accident can result in fatality and loss.
A wrongful death lawsuit could also arise from a case like this. In that situation, things such as funeral costs, loss of financial support, etc. can be taken into account.
How do you determine liability for a boating accident?
Liability is determined by who the negligent party in the accident was. If the defendant can prove breach of duties which caused the accident or any way to link the resulting damage, then liability can be proven. 44% of reported boating accidents are due to driver's inattention due to cellular devices, BUIs (Boating Under the Influence), etc.
Do I need a boating accident lawyer?