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When is a boating accident report required?

September 3, 2015

When is a boating accident report required?

Boating accidents happen, but not every incident requires official intervention. By state law, as the operator of a vessel, you must file an accident report with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife when property damage or injury exceeds certain levels.

Federal law states that you must file a written report when property damage from an accident reaches or is higher than $2,000. In Kentucky, however, the limit is much lower. You must file when damages to the vessel meet or go over $500, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife. You must notify the authorities in all cases in which you or someone else suffers injuries that require medical attention beyond first aid. You are required immediately to report a fatal boat accident or the disappearance of anyone aboard. If you cannot reach the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources at the time of the accident, quickly contact the closest available Department Conservation Officer.

You have 10 days from the incident to report property damages in excess of $500, or if a report becomes necessary due to a turn of events or a new development. You have 48 hours to file a report in the following circumstances:

  • If someone dies as a result of injuries within 24 hours of the accident
  • If a person is injured beyond the ability to function normally
  • If a person disappears

Accident reports share information that may help other boaters to avoid a catastrophic event. They also help to shape boating practices in Kentucky so that more people may safely enjoy time on their vessels.