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Reporting Your Boating Accident

Craig McClellan

Like with car accidents, California requires boaters to report serious boating accidents to the state. The state uses the information to analyze boating accidents and make safety recommendations to reduce the number of accidents. The reports are confidential and may not be used in any criminal prosecution or civil litigation.

Boaters must report the following accidents to the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW):

  • "Death, disappearance or injury requiring medical attention beyond first aid
  • "Damage to a vessel or other property exceeding $500; or
  • "Complete loss of a vessel, regardless of value"

If an accident involves death, disappearance or injury, it must be reported to the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) within 48 hours. All other claims should be submitted within 10 days of the boating accident.

To submit a claim, the operator or owner of the boat, or a party involved in the accident, must complete a written boating accident report and send it to the following address:

California Department of Boating and Waterways
Attn: Boating Accident Unit
2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815

Of course, if you were involved in a serious boating accident, the last thing you want is to have to focus on sending an accident report to the state for research purposes. Your attorney can submit the form for you while fighting for compensation for any injuries you or your loved ones sustained in the boating accident.

Source: California Department of Boating and Waterways, " When And How To Report A Boating Accident," 2013