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Dealing with an Accident


Finding immediate help on the water is often not as easy as flagging down a passing motorist on a busy highway. As such, boaters should be aware of their surroundings and the possibility that a fellow boater may need assistance. In a true emergency, there may be no time for flares or other signaling devices – so the flailing of arms may be the only thing that alerts you to a potential problem.

  • As a boater, you are required to render assistance if you are involved in or witness an accident, or happen upon an emergency situation, as long as it does not endanger you, your crew or vessel, or further endanger those involved.
  • The law protects those that render assistance and protects the Good Samaritan from damages as a result of rendering assistance, as long as the individual acts as an ordinary, reasonable and prudent individual would under the circumstances.



The U.S. Coast Guard:
If you need further information
regarding accident reporting, visit the Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center