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Florida Boating Accident Report Laws

November 29, 2022

It’s important for boaters to know what steps to take in the event of an emergency on the water. The state of Florida has laws in place to ensure that when an accident happens, help is given to those who need it and the authorities are notified in a timely manner. Find out what your obligations are in the event that you are involved in a boating accident in Florida.

Providing assistance and contact information in the event of a boating accident

Any vessel operator involved in a boating accident is required to render assistance to other people affected by the accident, unless they would endanger themselves or their passengers by doing so. They are also required to provide their name, address and vessel identification in writing to any person who was injured or whose property was damaged as a result of the accident.

A vessel operator who gets into an accident that involves an unattended vessel is required to make every reasonable effort to notify the owner of the accident and provide their name, address and registration number.

Florida boating accident reporting requirements

According to Florida boating laws, a vessel operator is required to promptly notify the authorities of a boating accident involving any of the following:

  • Injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Death
  • Disappearance of someone on board under circumstances that suggest death or injury
  • Damage to any vessel or personal property that totals $2,000 or more

In the event of such a boating accident, the vessel operator must notify either the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement, the county sheriff or the police chief of the area where the accident occurred.

Failing to provide assistance or report a boating accident

It is illegal for a vessel operator involved in an accident to leave the scene without:

  • providing assistance to people affected by the accident
  • making every effort to find and notify those affected who are not present
  • notifying the appropriate boating law enforcement agency

Leaving the scene of an accident that results in an injury is a third-degree felony. Leaving the scene of an accident that results in property damage only is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Learn about boating regulations and more with Drive a Boat USA!

Vessel operators need to be aware of their obligations so that they can act as required in the event of an accident on the water. Taking a boating safety course can help you familiarize yourself with boating regulations and safety measures, and it’s mandatory for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who wants to operate a motorized vessel.

Take Drive a Boat USA’s convenient online course to learn everything you need to know to pass the Florida boat exam and obtain your boating safety ID card. Get started today!