Personal Injury


Reporting a Boating Accident Is the Law in California

  • Jan 24 2014
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

Van and Chantra Chanpenxi of Sacramento, California went on a Thanksgiving Day fishing trip in the Sacramento River near Rio Vista and have not returned. Authorities found their unoccupied boat circling in the water near the Rio Vista Bridge. Nobody has any clue about why or where the couple alighted from the boat. Although the U.S. Coast Guard ended its search one week later, the Sacramento County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol continued on.

According to Federal law, a boating accident report needs to be filed for the disappearance of the Chanpenxis.

Federal accident reporting requirement

Federal law obligates the operator or owner to file a boating accident report with the California reporting authority when one of the following incidents occurs involving a boat or its equipment:

  • A death occurs
  • A person goes missing under circumstances that indicates injury or death
  • An injury requiring medical treatment occurs
  • The boat is destroyed
  • The boat or other vessels are damaged costing more than $2,000

It is important to know federal law when you are injured in waterways outside of California.

California law

California has stricter boating accident reporting requirements than the federal government. State law requires a boater involved in an accident to submit a written accident report to the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) when there is a death, disappearance or injury requiring medical care beyond first aid or property damage totaling more than $500. Whenever a vessel is lost, irrespective of its value, a boating accident report must be filed. If death occurs, the report must be delivered to the DBW within 24 hours. When a person disappears or suffers serious injury, the accident report must be filed within 48 hours.

A boater involved in an accident is required by law to submit an accident report within 10 days of an accident that involves a person who dies more than 24 hours after the incident and when there is only property damage more than $500 or a complete loss of a vessel.

Filing details

In California, boating accident reports should be filed with the DBW. An experienced San Diego boating accident attorney can help you file your report as part of the process of collecting damage awards to which you may be entitled. The DBW collects and analyzes boating reports

to develop programs to promote boating safety. If you have been injured in a California boating accident, schedule a consultation with an experienced boating accident lawyer today.

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