How do I report a boat accident?

Boating is a popular activity for many people in NSW. However, boating accidents happen every year. In this article we take a look at some common boating risks, how to report a boat accident and the options available to you if you’re seeking boating injury compensation.

Common boating risks

Boating can be a very pleasurable way to spend your time, but like any water sport, it does come with its own risks. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Fuel fires: Fuel fires on a boat can spread quickly and cause serious injuries and damage to the boat. The focus should be on preventing fires from happening in the first place
  • Person overboard: If someone falls overboard, ensure that the person is kept in sight by someone while you circle back to pick them up. Check your location on GPS in case others are needed to help with the rescue
  • Collisions with other vessels, sandbank or reef: Collisions can happen for a whole raft of reasons including if the skipper is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted by a mobile phone, or if they failed to follow maritime rules
  • Propeller strikes: A boat’s propeller can cause severe injuries to people in the water. The skipper must always be aware of the risk and take precautions to avoid causing a serious accident

What should you do if a boat accident happens?

In the event of an accident, there are a few things that the skipper of a boat needs to keep in mind.

Firstly, you need to stop the boat and give assistance to anyone injured in the accident.

Secondly, you’ll need to produce your boat or personal watercraft (PWC) licence and provide your details, including your name, address and your boat’s registration or licence number, to any other people involved in the accident.

Thirdly, if the boat accident is serious, you may need to send a written report to the Roads and Maritime Services, providing details about the accident.

When do you need to report a boat accident?

A written report, including details of the accident, must be sent to the Roads and Maritime Services authority within 24 hours if:

  • Someone was injured or has died as a result of the boat accident
  • The boating accident caused more than $5,000 of damage to a boat or other property
  • There is damage or a risk of damage to the environment

Note that the written form is not necessary if the accident details have already been given to a Roads and Maritime Services Officer.

If you need to make a written report, incident report forms can be downloaded from the Roads and Maritime Services website here.

How do you make a claim for a boating injury?

If you’ve been injured in a boat accident and you are not at fault, you may be able to seek boating injury compensation to cover your lost earnings, medical bills and other costs related to your injuries. A compensation claim for boating injuries will usually be made under the Civil Liability Act. You’ll need to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of someone who owed you a duty of care. Compensation claims of this nature can be complex and its vital that you get the right advice before making a claim.

Speak to experienced boating injury lawyers

If you’re seeking compensation for a boating injury, contact our experienced team of boating injury lawyers as soon as possible so that they can assess your claim and compile the necessary evidence for your case. You can contact us on (02) 9601 0088.

See how we can help you

< Back to News