Boat Collisions and Accidents

A boating collision causing property damage, personal injury, or death might result in a civil violation punishable by a fine, a criminal charge punishable by incarceration, or a personal injury lawsuit for monetary damages. The person accused, and the injured victim each need their own attorney experienced in boating collisions and accidents to ensure their rights are protected.

Many cases for leaving the scene of a boating collision also involve allegations of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI) or reckless operation of a vessel.

Under Section 327.30, F.S., a person operating a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or another casualty must provide assistance as necessary and practicable to save any person affected to minimize the damage caused. The person must provide the following, in writing, to any person injured or to the owner of any property damaged:

  • their name;
  • their address, and
  • the vessel identification.

As required by Section 327.30(1), F.S., if a person damages an unattended vessel, that person must make every reasonable effort to locate and notify the damaged vessel’s owner or another person in charge of such vessel and provide his or her name, address, and vessel registration number.

Attorneys for Boating Collisions and Accidents in Florida

If you were involved in a vessel collision or accident on a waterway, contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We help those accused of causing a boating accident or collision. We also represent victims in boating collisions if they suffered any personal injury, including serious bodily injury.

Many of these boating incidents are investigated by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers, although other law enforcement agencies might be involved.

Visit our offices in downtown Tampa, Clearwater, and New Port Richey, FL.  Contact us for a free consultation.

Call 813-250-0500.

Duties after a Boating Crash or Collision in Florida

As required by Section 327.30(2), F.S., a vessel’s operator must immediately notify law enforcement if a collision, accident, or other casualty involves:

  • a vessel capsizing or sinking;
  • a vessel colliding with another vessel or object;
  • an injury to a person requiring medical treatment beyond immediate first aid;
  • a death;
  • a person’s disappearance from a vessel under circumstances indicating the possibility that he or she is injured or was killed; or
  • damage to any vessel or other property appearing greater than $2,000.

Under S. 327.30(2), F.S., notifying law enforcement means notifying either FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred, or the police chief of the municipality within which the accident occurred.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a Boating Crash or Collision in Florida

A person who leaves the scene of a boating collision without taking appropriate actions commits either a second degree misdemeanor or a third degree felony. If the crash results in only property damage, the crime is charged as a second degree misdemeanor.

The crime is charged as a third degree felony if a person operating a vessel involved in an accident or injury leaves the scene of the accident or injury:

  • without providing all possible aid to the other persons involved;
  • without making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other persons affected; and
  • without notifying the appropriate law enforcement official.

Under s. 316.027, F.S., a person who leaves the scene of a vehicle accident commits a:

  • a third degree felony if the vehicle crash results in injury, other than serious bodily injury, to a person;
  • a second degree felony if the vehicle crash results in serious bodily injury to a person; or
  • a first degree felony (with a four-year minimum mandatory penalty) if the vehicle crash results in a person’s death.

This article was last updated on Monday, August 21, 2023.