PADDLERsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 05 - Emergency Preparedness



Most types of boating accidents will require you to file an official accident report with the state boating authority and with the local authorities. These accident types may include: collisions, capsizing emergencies, person overboard emergencies, fire emergencies, etc.

If you've been in a boating accident, you’re required to:

  • Stop and identify yourself to the other boat operator.
  • Assist any boaters in distress, so long as you’re not placing yourself or your passengers at risk.
  • Obtain pertinent information from the other boat operator (i.e. the date, time, the location of the accident, the name of each person who died or went missing, the number and name of the vessel, and the name and address of the owner and operator).

You’re required to file an accident report if any of the following occur during your paddle trip:

  • A passenger is lost or is killed.
  • There is a personal injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid.
  • The watercraft is completely destroyed and/or lost.
  • There is property damage in excess of the state threshold.

You may face a fine and/or imprisonment if you fail to report an accident, if you fail to provide assistance to a boater in distress or if you fail to identify yourself to the authorities after being involved in an accident.

Remember, most types of accidents will require you to file an accident report.


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