Friday, August 22, 2008

Reporting a Boat Accident

Due to its proximity to the ocean, boating has become a foremost recreation in California. Even boating enthusiasts from other states come to the place to experience the joys of sailing.

But accidents happen when we least expect it – even at sea.

The article “Boat Catches on Fire in Marina Del Rey” posted on August 19, 2008, tells of a boat, which caught fire near the north jetty of Marina del Rey. Luckily, for the two people on board, they were immediately rescued by responding firefighters. The cause of the fire was yet to be determined.

Urgent response is always required for an emergency like this. Anyone involved in a boating accident that results in serious injury, death or disappearance must notify authorities as soon as possible.

A boat operator is required by law to file a boating accident report (BAR) when an accident happens. The Code of Federal Regulations 33 CFR 173.55 (2001) requires a BAR to be filed with the nearest state boating authority under the following circumstances:

1. when a person dies

2. when a person is injured and requires medical treatment

3. when damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more or there is a complete loss of any vessel

4. when person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury

If you happen to get involved in a boating accident, you must file an accident report with the Department of Boating and Waterways if:

• a person dies, disappears or is injured and requires treatment beyond first aid

• property damage exceeds $500 or there is complete loss of a vessel

Accident reports must be filed within 48 hours of the occurrence if a person dies within 24 hours of the accident, is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first-aid, or disappears from a vessel.