How To Report a Boating Accident


If you have an accident while out on the water, it is important that you report it right away. Not only is it your duty as a boater to do so, but your actions might protect you from liability later on. If you are not sure what to do, then here is how to go about reporting a boating accident.

Call the Authorities

The most important thing is to call someone right away. Depending on where you are and whether anyone has been injured, you might notify any of the following agencies:

  • 911
  • County sheriff
  • Local police
  • Coast guard
  • State fish and wildlife agency

File the Appropriate Forms

Once you are no longer in danger, be sure to complete all necessary paperwork. Some forms ask a large number of detailed questions, so set aside enough time to complete the task. Here are some examples of forms you may need to fill out:

  • Coast Guard’s Form CG-3865
  • Boat insurance paperwork
  • State and/or local boating authority incident report

By first alerting an appropriate agency to the situation and then filing the necessary paperwork, you can feel satisfied that you did everything in your power to document what happened. That way, you will have recorded your side of the story in case of future liability issues.