Boating Accidents Law in the US

As boating accidents cause a lot of deaths and injuries and property damage in the U.S., strong boating accident laws have been designed. However, most of these accidents are preventable as they are caused either due to carelessness on the part of the people operating the boat or due to their inexperience. Boats colliding with rocks or with other boats and people falling overboard are very common. Collisions usually take place when the person operating the boat has high blood alcohol levels or in other words, is heavily drunk. So a simple step like operating the boat without drinking can drastically reduce the number of accidents and the resulting deaths.


Boat owners as well as operators have to follow federal as well as state laws when maintaining and operating their boats and other watercraft.


According to the boating accidents law in the U.S., operators of boats and other watercraft have to report boating accidents. Most states require the operators to provide details like their names, addresses, boat registration numbers to other persons involved in the accident. They are also required to assist the injured.

The boating accidents law has some stringent rules if the accident has resulted in death or disappearance of people, caused injuries or has caused a loss of more than $500 to the boat or to any other property. In such cases, the report has to be filed with the boating department of the state within 48 hours if there has been death or disappearance, and within 10 days if there has been only property damage.

Other Rules

The law requires that boat should not be run carelessly so as to cause damage to life or property.

Boats are prohibited from going through areas which are used for swimming or diving. When the boat moves through such places, the operator might require to suddenly turn, to avoid a swimmer and this could result in an accident.

Boats are also barred from moving at speeds which are not suitable after considering factors like traffic, weather and visibility.

Boating accidents law also bars passengers from standing or sitting in places where there is a risk of falling overboard.

Boats which are in unsafe condition are prohibited from operating. Unsafe conditions could mean inadequate life jackets, fuel leaks, insufficient ventilation, navigation lights not in working condition and inadequate fire extinguishers.

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