Boating Safety: Part Four

You’re sitting at the dock, refilling your outboard motor oil, when another vessel hits you from the rear, warping your propeller and breaking off a piece of the dock: Do you know what to do? The law has specific guidelines regarding the proper protocol for reporting a boating accident, but less than 10 percent of all non-fatal accidents are ever reported to the authorities. Just as with car accidents, it is important to contact a local authority if you are ever in a boating accident. Laws vary by state, but most require you to report an accident if there is a death, serious injury or damage in excess of $2,000.

When required, you must submit a formal written report of the accident within 48 hours if someone is killed or injured or 10 days if there is only property damage. In some states, the requirements for reporting are more stringent. Contact the Coast Guard or your local boating authority to learn more about the specific laws in your state and find out how to file a formal accident report.

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