What to do if you’re Involved in a Boat Accident

An operator involved in a boating accident is required to:

  • Stop their boat at the scene.
  • Render assistance to any person who has been injured or who is in danger so long as they can do so without risking their safety or their passenger’s safety.
  • Provide their name, address and boat information in writing, to any person who was injured, and to the owner of any property that was damaged as a result of the accident.

Accident Reporting

A written accident report form must be filed with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) when:

  • A person is killed, or is injured and required medical attention beyond first aid.
  • A person disappears from the boat.
  • Damage to boat(s) or equipment totals more than $2,000.

To inform law enforcement about an accident, operators can call their county or city law enforcement group, their County Sheriff’s Office, Conservation Police Officers, or Department dispatcher.

When a person dies or disappears as a result of an accident, the operator is required by law to notify the VDGIF in Richmond, Virginia, or the most immediately available Department Conservation Police Officer, by the quickest means possible, without delay.

Filing a Boat Accident Report

A written accident report must be filed within 48 hours if:

  • A person dies within 24 hours of the accident.
  • A person is injured and is not able to perform usual activities.
  • A person disappears from the boat.

A written accident report must be filed within 10 days if:

  • An earlier report is not required, but becomes necessary.
  • Property damage totals more than $2,000 or there is total loss of the boat.

Where to get a Boat Accident Report Form

Accident report forms can be obtained from:

  • Local law enforcement authorities.
  • Department Conservation Police Officers.
  • The VDGIF website.
  • All department offices.