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Should You Report a Florida Boating Accident?


Spending time out on the water is a popular recreational activity in Florida. With sunny weather year-round, Florida is a magnet for visitors from more frozen parts of the country, many of whom want to go fishing or just cruise the waves.

Boating accidents, however, are a common occurrence with all this tourist activity. If you have a boat and are involved in an accident, you might not know that you need to report the accident to the state. Below, we lay out the rules and guidelines.

Reporting Requirements

The operator of the vessel must report an accident to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) in the following situations:

  • A person is injured and needs more than simple first aid treatment. For example, if someone needs to go to the hospital, then you should report the accident.
  • A person dies in a boating accident.
  • A person disappears after an accident, suggesting they are injured or dead.
  • Damage to the vessel or personal property totals at least $2,000.

Report the accident as soon as possible. You can contact FWCC at 1-800-404-3922. Remember, the vessel operator must report the accident. This might not be the vessel owner.

Boating Accidents are Common in Florida

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, 2017 say 766 boating accidents reported. This number is high, though the state also leads the country with 944, 162 registered vessels.

The most popular type of accident was collision with a vessel, which caused 220 accidents July was the leading month, with 113 accidents.

Other statistics include:

  • The 766 vessel accidents resulted in 437 injuries
  • 61 accidents were fatal, resulting in 67 fatalities
  • Alcohol was involved in almost a quarter of boating fatalities
  • Drowning was the leading cause of fatalities

If you are involved in a crash, you should immediately make sure that everyone is okay. If someone has fallen overboard, you should call emergency services if you cannot locate and safely help the person.

Reckless Operation is a Crime

You should realize that Florida patrols its waterways just as seriously as it does its highways. People who do not operate a vessel safely could end up in legal trouble:

  • If you operate the vessel with willful disregard for other people’s safety, then you can receive a citation for reckless operation, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • If you careless operate the vessel, then you could be cited for careless operation, which is a non-criminal infraction.

Injuring another person or property also makes boat operators vulnerable to a lawsuit for personal injury, and they will need to pay compensation to anyone that they have harmed if found liable.

Boat Accident Attorneys in Daytona Beach

Bundza & Rodriguez is a leading Daytona Beach personal injury law firm that has helped many clients injured in accidents. If you were struck by a vessel, or otherwise injured on a boat, we might be able to help.

You can call 386-252-5170 to speak with one of our boat accident lawyers about your case.


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