Unlike car accidents where it’s the responsibility of law enforcement to file a report, with boating accidents that responsibility falls on the operator or owner of each boat involved. Many boaters forget this, so spread the word.

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Reporting a boating accident is the boat operators responsibility

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Evidence suggests that boating accidents are under reported. This may be because many boaters and boat operators are unaware that accident reporting is their responsibility, even if the true cost of the accident or injury is discovered at a later date.



Follow these guidelines

Guidelines for when and how to file can get a little complicated. For starters, we recommend downloading forms from your state’s boating authority and keeping a few blank accident reporting forms on your boat or in your vehicle. The filing criteria can be found on the forms.

download icon, orange shaped like documentAn accident reporting form is available for download from our resource library.

Reporting boating accidents is important because the data helps the U.S. Coast Guard identify boat defects and boater behaviors that cause injuries and impact lives. With those statistics, they’re empowered to observe trends in accidents and prescribe mitigating measures such as laws, design change and weight limits.

The more accurate and complete the accident report, the better job they can do to help us all. Help boaters learn from mistakes.

Human-propelled boats – kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle-boards (SUPs) – have the same responsibilities. That makes it doubly important to report accidents involving these types of craft so we can all be safer on the water. And if you know someone who is a human-powered boater, encourage them to get safety education.


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Boating is serious fun. We’ve provided a variety of advocate tools and outreach methods, choose what works best for you and your community.

  • Visit spread the word for easy outreach through personal social media outlets and boating forums.
  • Provide year-round education on all boating safety topics – download pamphlets, flyers, banners, and posters. Great event materials. Search by topic in the resource section.
  • Download our marketing playbook, an advocates dream resource for creating change. Find it under the Boat Live 365 topic in our resource section.
  • Don’t know where to start?  Contact us. We’re happy to help.


*U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics Report, 2023

download icon, orange shaped like documentVisit our resource library for downloads, event materials, tips and ideas on how to create a safe boating culture 365 days a year.

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Download the official USCG Boating Safety App in the App store and request emergency assistance in real-time!

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Take an in- person seminar or boating course. America’s Boating Club has a wide variety of learning opportunities for everyone.

To truly spread the Boat Live 365 message, please make a concerted effort to discuss and promote all of the “Serious Fun Topics” together, all year long.

Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Coast Guard.