marine law enforcement officer review report paperwork

Recreational Boating Accidents

The Recreational Boating Safety Program maintains a record of boating-related accidents and fatalities in the state.

Reporting an incident

A boater involved in an incident must stop their vessel and assist injured people or anyone in danger, unless doing so would endanger their own vessel or passengers. In some circumstances, the vessel operator must submit a written accident report.

Accident report forms are available from Washington State parks and local law enforcement marine units. Washington state law requires the recreational vessel operator involved in an accident to file a Washington Boat Accident Report (PDF) when loss of life occurs, injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, someone disappears and they may be injured or deceased or Property damage of more than $2,000.

If there is an injury, disappearance or death, a report must be submitted within 48 hours. Reports in other accidents must be submitted within 10 days. If the operator cannot submit the report, the owner of the vessel is responsible.

Reports must be submitted to the law enforcement agency (PDF) that has jurisdiction where the accident occurred. If you are not sure what agency has the authority, contact the Washington State Boating program by email or call (360) 902-8555.

The report is confidential and will only be used by government agencies for statistical purposes. Failure of an operator to submit a report can result in a fine.