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April 5, 2022

When would a written boating accident report be required?

Florida is known for being the Sunshine State, with miles and miles of beaches and waterways. Because of this, thousands of boats flock to Florida any given day, giving it the title "boating capital of the world."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of both residents and visitors when boating. But even with all the regulations and laws, boating accidents can still happen. And although reporting the incident is important, it's not always necessary. So when would a written boating accident report be required? Let's discuss it in this article.

When Would A Written Boating Accident Report Be Required

Most Common Types of Boating Accidents

Let's first define the common types of boating accidents. In Florida law, you must report the following types of boating accidents:

Collisions With Other Vessels

A collision occurs when two or more moving vessels crash into each other. Not only does this cause significant damage to the boats, but it might also lead to injury or loss of human life. Collisions might be due to many factors, with operator inattention as the most common reason.

Collisions with Stationary Objects

The term used for collisions with a stationary object is "allision." This can happen when a moving boat collides with a stationary vessel, a buoy, bridge, or any other unmoving object.


Capsizing is when a boat turns upside down in the water due to instability. A boat becoming unstable can be because of too many passengers on board, imbalance in the seating or placement of the passengers, or water leaking in. Your boat might also capsize due to bad weather as it rocks the boat, allowing the water to get in.


"Flooding" happens when water gets in a boat, but the boat stays afloat. But with "sinking," your boat will become totally submerged in water. A boat could sink due to a lot of reasons. For example, the boat might run aground and hit rocks near the shore. It could also be due to failure in performing routine maintenance such as replacing the stern-drive bellows or cleaning the scuppers.

Falling Overboard

One of the most common boating accidents is a passenger or operator falling overboard. Falling overboard can be mostly due to negligence either on the passengers' part or the operators'. For example, the passenger suddenly stands up while the boat is moving or drinks alcohol while near the edge of the boat. Another reason might be the failure to use lifelines or handholds.

Departed Vessel

A departed vessel refers to when a passenger gets off a boat voluntarily by jumping or diving into the water.

In falling overboard, a person falls off because of other factors such as a sudden change in the boat's direction or when the boat is speeding. But in a departed vessel, the passenger gets off willingly. This situation can be significantly dangerous if the passenger was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

When Would A Written Boating Accident Report Be Required

When Do You Need a Written Boating Accident Report?

In Florida law, you need to report any type of boating accident. However, depending on certain circumstances, you might need a written accident report. Here are some conditions that require a written boating accident report form:

  • If a person dies
  • If a person disappears from the vessel
  • If a person sustains an injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • When the boat or property damage totals $2,000
  • When the vessel is totally destroyed


Boating Accident Report Timelines

Florida law requires all involved parties to report boating accidents as soon as possible.

  • A boating accident report should be filed within 48 hours of the accident.
  • If there is a loss of life, within 24 hours of the accident.
  • A boating accident report should be filed within 48 hours if a person involved is injured.
  • A boating accident report should be filed within 48 hours if a person disappears.
  • A boating accident report should be filed within 10 days if an earlier report is not required but becomes necessary.
  • A boating accident report should be filed within 10 days if the boat damages exceed $2,000 or result in total boat loss.


Where to Report Boating Accidents

A boating accident report should be made to the Division of Law Enforcement, FWC at (888) 404-3922. Alternatively, it can also be submitted to the County Sheriff or the police chief of the city the accident occurred.


What Are My Rights If I'm Injured in a Boating Accident in Tampa?

If you or someone you love is injured in a boating accident, then you may have the right to financial compensation. However, the process requires extensive knowledge and can be stressful given that you recuperating from your injuries. A Tampa boating accident lawyer provides the professional assistance you need.

John C. Murrow is a Tampa Bay personal injury lawyer who is experienced in working with boating accident claims. He will help you understand the legal processes involved in your accident and will fight to get the compensation you need.

Call John today at (813) 999 4950 for a free consultation.


The blog published by John C. Murrow Law is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.


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