Reporting boat incidents

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

1. Stop and give assistance

You must render any help possible without putting yourself, your passengers or crew in danger. This is particularly important if the incident results in death or injury, or damage to a vessel affects its seaworthiness or the safety of those on board.

Emergency situations may include 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 must help when possible

You may be able to provide valuable help as a witness. If you are not directly involved in the incident, but see one occur, you have a legal obligation to help when possible. In doing 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.

2. 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.

3. Report the incident

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 transport safety compliance officer - marine or a police officer near the location. This must be done as soon as possible but always within 48 hours, or 24 hours in the case of a hire and drive vessel.

You are not required to report the incident when:

  • property damage is minor or the total estimated damage to a recreational vessel does not exceed $300
  • any personal injury sustained is minor and does not require medical attention.

4. Provide details of the incident to the officer

Boating Incidents involving recreational vessels ONLY

Fill out a vessel accident report (269.5 KB PDF) form to report boating incidents. These forms are also available from transport safety compliance officers - marine and most police stations. Details needed include:

  • time and place of the incident
  • circumstances
  • name and address of any person killed or injured
  • names and addresses of any witnesses
  • the nature of any property damage.

Boating Incidents involving a domestic commercial vessel

Complete AMSA Form 529 'Marine Incident Report' and lodge with a DIT transport safety compliance officer - marine.

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Page last updated 18 August 2020

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