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Federal Boat Accident Reporting Requirements for Recreational Boat Accidents

This Boating Accident Law article concerning  Federal Boat Accident Reporting Requirements for Recreational Boat Accidents by William Turley from The Turley Law Firm. This Boat Accident Article was approved by Rhode Island Boat Accident Lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100.

If you or a family member are seriously injured in a boating accident, then it is important for you to understand how maritime law operates. One of the first things you should do if you or a family member is seriously injured in a recreational boating accident is to make sure you meet the Federal boat accident reporting requirements for recreational boat accidents.

When Must a Boating Accident Report Be Filed?

Under Federal Regulations the operator of any recreational vessel is required to file a Boating Accident Report (BAR) when, as a result of an occurrence, accident and/or event that involves a vessel or its equipment:

1. There is a death; or

2. A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances which would indicate either death or injury; or

3. A person is injured and requires non first-aid medical treatment; or

4. There is damage to vessels and other property which totals to $2,000 or more; or

5. A complete loss of a vessel.

Whose Has the Reporting Obligation?

Federal regulations state, if these above-stated conditions are met, the operator or owner has the obligation to report their boating accident to a state reporting authority. The owner must submit the report if the operator has died or the operator’s injuries make him or her unable to make the report.

Where Does the Boat Accident Report Need to Be Filed?

The Boat Accident Report must be reported with one of the following state reporting authorities:

a. The state where the accident occurred,

b. The state in which the vessel was numbered, or,

c. If the vessel does not have a number, the state where the vessel was principally used.

How Soo

n Must the Boating Accident Report Be Submitted to the Reporting Authority?

Boat operators or owners must submit accident reports within 48 hours of an occurrence if:

a. There is a death within 24 hours of the occurrence; or

b. Medical treatment is required beyond first aid; or

c. A person disappears or is lost from the vessel.

Accident reports must be submitted within 10 days of an occurrence if there is damage to the vessel/property only.

The Foregoing Are Federal Requirements – State Recreational Boating Requirements May Be More Stringent

The minimum reporting requirements are set by Federal regulation. However, some states have more stringent recreational boating reporting requirements. For example, some states have a lower threshold for reporting damage to vessels and other property.

Why You Should Make Sure Your Recreational Boating Accident Is Reported

Besides federal law, there is a more practical reason to have your serious boating accident reported. Many, if not all, recreational boating insurance companies are going to ask for the police report number when you are involved in a recreational boating accident. Many insurance companies say providing them with the police report number is a prerequisite for accepting a recreational boating accident claim.


William Turley is a California Maritime Lawyer and California Boat Accident Lawyer. He is a former President of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. Bill has been a San Diego Maritime Attorney since 1987. His firm’s website is the most comprehensive maritime law website in California. ==> San Diego Boat Accident Lawyer

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

One Response to “Federal Boat Accident Reporting Requirements for Recreational Boat Accidents”

  1. Lawyer says:

    Thanks you for these infomrative personal injury and car accident posts.