Report boat accidents, incidents and safety concerns

A person operating a boat that is involved in an accident or incident or witnesses an incident, must stop and give assistance and make a boating accident or incident report.

Anyone who observes a recreational vessel engaging in unsafe activities can make a marine safety concern report.

Boating accident or incident

If you are operating a boat that is involved in an accident or incident, or witness an incident, you must take the following action.

Stop and give assistance

Boat owner, master, or operator

If your vessel is involved in an incident you must stop and follow these steps:

  • help as much as you can, without putting yourself, your passengers, and your crew at risk
  • exchange your contact details with:
    • the operator of any boat involved
    • any injured person
    • the owner of any damaged property.

Emergency situations may include a person overboard or engine failure. In some cases, a boat may have been abandoned.

Contact the Volunteer Marine Rescue Network on VHF Ch16 or 27 MHz on Ch88.

Witnesses to an incident

If you are not directly involved in the accident or incident, but see one occur, you have a legal obligation to help when possible. In doing that you must not endanger your safety or the safety of your passengers or crew.

It is against the law to fail to stop and help after an incident. Penalties apply.

Provide your name and address

You are legally required to provide your contact details to the operator of any boat involved in an incident, any person injured, or the owner of any damaged property. If needed, also supply the name of the owner of your boat.

Report the incident

Report boating incidents involving recreational vessels

The owner, master, or operator of any vessel must report any incident that results in loss of life, personal injury, or property damage to a Marine Safety SA or a police officer.

Reports need to be lodged within 48 hours of the incident.

Report a boating accident or incident

Report boating incidents involving domestic commercial vessels

Commercial vessels, including hire and drive houseboats, need to make 2 reports.

Make a report with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority within 72 hours of the incident.

Incident report form 19

Make a report with Marine Safety SA within 48 hours of the incident.

Report a boating accident or incident

Marine safety concern

Anyone who observes a recreational vessel engaging in unsafe activities on South Australian waters should report the incident using the Report a marine safety concern form.

This includes:

  • Events or behaviours that endanger the safety of waterway users - eg excessive speed, failure to wear a lifejacket, and illegal activity.  If the unsafe activity, has the potential to endanger human life, in the first instance you'll need to contact South Australia Police (SAPOL) by phoning 131 444.
  • The reporting of hazards in waterways.

This form is not for reporting pollution, such as marine oil spills, from a ship or recreational vessel.  To report, phone 8248 3505 or call on radio channel 12 at all hours.

Report a marine safety concern


Related information

On this site

Report oil spills


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Page last updated 31 March 2023

Provided by:
Department for Infrastructure and Transport
URL:
https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/boating-and-marine/boat-and-marine-reporting/reporting-boat-incidents
Last Updated:
31/03/23
Printed on:
04/06/23
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2023
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