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How to Report a Boating Accident

February 20, 2019 | Category: Boating Accidents | Share

How to Report a Boating Accident - Spivey LawThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reported that boating accidents for 2017 were up 7.3 percent from 2016.  

In October 2018, the Coast Guard reported that two boats were in an accident between Captiva and Pine Island. At least four people were rescued and taken to the hospital after the accident. It was reported that the smaller boat was going fast with four people on board when it hit the wake of a larger boat. The smaller boat and the larger boat collided.

When a boating accident occurs, Florida state law requires boaters to file a report with the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement or the local police or sheriff’s department if at least one of the following occurs:

  • Someone dies
  • Someone disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
  • Someone is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid
  • There is damage to the vessel(s) involved and other property which totals at least $2,000
  • The boat is destroyed

As with vehicle accidents, it is unlawful for any boat operator who is involved in a boating accident to leave the scene without giving all possible aid to the involved persons. The U.S. Coast Guard says that the information obtained from the casualty or accident report is “used to establish regulations and safety standards, identify and remedy boat defects, educate recreational boaters, capture statistical data, investigate accidents and measure the effectiveness of boating safety programs.” If there is a fatality, an accident form must be filed within 48 hours, or within 20 days for a non-fatal reportable accident.

Statistics from the U. S. Coast Guard indicate that 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education.

According to Florida law, anyone born on or after January 1,1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must pass an approved boater safety course and have in his/her possession photographic identification and a boater safety identification card issued by FWC.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators issued a press release on January 24, 2018 urging boaters to Keep Your Edge by enrolling in a boating education course.  FWC provides a list of acceptable classroom and on-line courses on its website:

“Florida is a mecca for boating and fishing enthusiasts, and accidents happen. We see the devastation caused by negligent boat operators. Should you or a loved one be injured in a boating accident, please contact our firm after seeking medical attention. We are available 24/7 to assist you,” said Fort Myers Boating Accident Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.



Fort Myers Boat Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.



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