How Soon Should I File a Report After a Boating Accident in Florida?

Your Rights and Responsibilities After a Florida Boating Accident

If you are involved in a Miami boating accident, you may be uncertain of what you need to do to protect yourself and your right to recovery if you were injured. It is important to know that Florida law requires individuals involved in a boating accident to immediately report a boating accident to the proper authorities.

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we represent individuals who have been seriously hurt or killed in boating accidents throughout Miami. Our dedicated legal staff will help you understand your rights and responsibilities after a boat crash. We will fight for you to receive the maximum compensation available in your case if you were injured. Contact our office at (844) 627-3529  to schedule a free consultation. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Report After a Boating Accident?

According to the 2022 Florida Statutes, a person involved in a boating accident must report the crash or collision without delay and by the quickest means available. 

As noted by the United States Coast Guard, this means that a report should be filed with the appropriate authorities within 48 hours if someone is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid. 

When Do I Have to Report a Boating Accident to Authorities?

There are both state and federal laws that govern reporting requirements for boating accidents. Section 327.20 (2)  of the Florida Statutes describes when a boat crash must be reported in the state.

Florida law requires boating accidents to be filed immediately when there is a:

  • Capsizing
  • Collision with another vessel or object
  • Sinking
  • Personal injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Death
  • Disappearance of any person from on board
  • $2,000 in damage to another vessel or property 

It is in your best interest to speak with an attorney if you are injured in a boating accident or collision. Depending on the situation you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Who Do I Report a Boating Accident to in Florida?

Filing your report timely and to the correct agency may prove critical to your case. It is essential to understand what is required of you after an accident, even if it was not your fault.

Boating accident reporting agencies in Florida:

  • The Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
  • The sheriff of the county where the accident happened; or
  • The police chief of the municipality where the accident occurred.

Boating accidents are common in South Florida, but many require reporting. In addition to reporting requirements, vessel operators are also required to render aid to someone who is hurt in a boating collision, accident, or another casualty. 

Is There an Exception to the 48-hour Reporting Rule?

In most cases, you will need to report a boating accident within 48 hours, however there are instances when the timeline is extended. The United States Coast Guard states that when reporting is not required within 48 hours, the operator of a recreational vessel has up to 10 days to file the report.

A boating accident is required to be filed within 48 hours if:

  • A person dies within 24 hours
  • Is injured and requires medical treatment beyond basic first aid
  • Disappears from the vessel in a way that indicates death or injury

Florida law specifically states that reports should be filed “without delay,” meaning it would be in your best interest to file the report as quickly as possible.

Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a boating accident in Miami, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation. We have represented thousands of clients throughout South Florida and can help you obtain the compensation you need to fully recover. Call now to speak directly with an experienced attorney.