Ft. Lauderdale could easily be called the boating capital of the United States as ships, yachts, fishing vessels and all other types of boats use our ocean and the InterCoastal Waterway. In addition to the commercial fishing, hundreds of private boaters use the ocean waters and docks in and around Ft. Lauderdale every day and accidents are sure to occur. As a boat captain or boat owner, it is important that you know your legal responsibilities in advance so that if an accident occurs you know what to do.
The first thing a boat owner is required to do in the event of an accident is to fill out and file a Boating Accident Report. The report is to be filed with the Coast Guard and you should have copies of the form aboard the boat. You can obtain these forms from the Coast Guard’s Customer Infoline by calling 1-(800) 366-5647 and having the forma mailed to you.
There are several events that require you to fill out and submit a Boating Accident Report. One event is if there is a loss of life of someone while aboard your boat. A second is if there is property damage like a boat collision with another boat or a dock where the damage is estimated to be over $2000. Another situation is if your passenger is injured and needs medical attention greater than merely first aid. Obviously, if you need to call an ambulance once you reach the shore, that would require a Boat Accident Report. In addition, if a person goes missing and the last citing of the person was getting on your boat, you’ll need to file a report. In all events involving personal injury, death or disappearance, the report must be filed within 48 hours. In the event of property damage only, you have 10 days to file the report.
Boating Skills and Seamanship Courses are offered by the Coast Guard. For more information on Ft. Lauderdale boating safety, please visit http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/012599tip.htm