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When Should You Report a Boating Accident?

Outboard MotorboatMost of the boating accidents in Melbourne, Florida normally occur during the month of May. However, the spring and summer months are well known for an increase in the amount of boaters on the water. There are many water sports and leisure activities that can be found along the coasts of Florida during the summer months. These activities also increase the chances of boating accidents in the area.

There are boating patrols along the waterways to help keep order and peace among the boaters. They can board a vessel and complete inspections as necessary to insure that the vessel is up to standards for being on the water. They can also ask for any documentation from the person driving the boat regarding their boating license or responsibility towards the boat and waters. All accidents that occur on the water must be reported by law. Every party involved, whether it be one, two or ten boats, must report the accident to the local authorities.

Keep in mind that it is mandatory to file claims with all boating accidents within the first 48 hours. Under certain circumstances below that mandates a claim:

  • There is a missing person that was previously on the vessel before the accident and can no longer be found. Injury or death is always suspected.
  • Due to the boating accident, the driver of the vessel or an on-board passenger has died within the first 24 hours after the accident.
  • Medical attention is needed beyond the regular first aid treatments that can be handled on shore.

There are some accidents that are not required to be reported. These accidents are minor and can be overlooked due to no injuries being sustained and no damage being done to the vessel in a high amount. If within the first 10 days after a boating accident the following occurs, you must file the proper report with authorities:

  • The vessel is a complete loss. If the accident caused the vessel to be taken out of commission, reporting it is mandatory.
  • Damage to the vessel or other property on the waterway as a result of the accident reaches the amount of $2,000 or more, a report is mandatory.
  • If an injured driver or member aboard the vessel that was involved in the accident dies after the 24 hours following the accident, a report must be made.

Insurance companies require reports to be made if the owner of the vessel requires insurance to cover the damages done. Even if the damage amounts do not reach the $2,000 mark, the boat owner can still file an accident report in hopes of gaining back compensation for fixing the vessel with out of pocket money.