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In Florida What Are Boat Operators Required to Do When Involved in an Accident?

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

in florida what are boat operators required to do when involved in an accident

Florida is one of the most famous boating destinations in the world. Hence, thousands of vessels gather around the water of Florida during every boating season and yours may be one of them.

There are chances for you to be involved in a boating accident while enjoying Florida’s ocean. Thus, understanding answers for the question of “In Florida what are boat operators required to do when involved in an accident?” is crucial.

In this post, we will provide a set of tasks and divide them into categories so you, as a boater, will know what to do if you find yourself in watercraft incidents:

  • Immediate actions after the accident occurs
  • Factors to pay attention while filling the boating accident report

In addition, other information related to Florida’s boating regulations will be highlighted to help you deal with authorities more easily. Continue reading to learn more!

Immediate Actions After the Accident Occured

The first priority following a watercraft mishap is to verify if everybody on board is safe and present. Passengers who have fallen overboard must be dragged back on the vessel. In case the boat is sinking or appears to be in danger, you should try to approach floating objects as soon as feasible.

Wearing a life vest is a must for every person while traveling on a boat as it will reduce the chance of drowning if the boat is capsizing. Performing first-aid to those who need it is important as well. Make sure the first-aid kit is always available onboard.

Florida’s Coast Guard requires the boat’s owner to stop and remain at the scene. If boaters think it’s dangerous to continue to stay still or there are people with serious injuries, they can leave but not too far away from the place.

Factors to Pay Attention While Filling the Boating Accident Report


With nearly a million certified vessels in Florida and collisions occurring on a regular basis, many boaters may wonder what they should do to respond to an accident? Federal law requires commercial vessel owners to file an accident report with the state’s authority when an accident results in:

  • Death casualties
  • A missing individual
  • Destruction of a watercraft
  • Severe injuries of a person, requiring more than basic medical treatment.
  • Significant damage to the vessel or other assets that costs more than $2,000

You should remember to submit the report immediately when these situations happen. Here are the submission deadlines you need to keep in mind:

  • If there are serious injuries that need further medical treatments or involve deaths, file the report within 24 hours.
  • If there is a missing person(s), submit the file within 48 hours.
  • Other cases can have a deadline of 10 days from the accident

There are authorities or offices that can receive the reports, yet the quickest way is to submit them to the County Sheriff or Police Departments where the accidents occur. Unless the situation is under control, contacting lawyers will be a great option, too.

Boat Accident Reporting – Part One


Boat accidents are unfortunate yet it’s still possible to handle if you remember to not run away from the scene and file the report immediately. We hope the above information will help you deal with these situations more easily if they do happen to you.

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