In the state of Mississippi, we are dedicated to making boating accessible to every person who wants to be out on the water. We have plenty of boat launches across the state so you, your loved ones, and friends can go boating, fishing, or on an adventure down the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and other bodies of water inside our great state. Unfortunately, though, accidents can happen while boating. In 2017, there were over 4,000 boating accidents in the country, according to the United States Coast Guard.
When boating accidents happen, you’ll need to know what kind of report to file so you’re following the rules and can have success in a legal claim later. In Jackson, the experienced lawyers at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC can support you through your case so you can feel confident while seeking justice from the people who caused your accident.
Mississippi Boating Accident Reporting Laws
When a car accident happens, the person who files the report is the police officer who is called to the scene. However, boating accidents are different—you are the one responsible for filing an accident report with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Additionally, you might want to seek help from these emergency contacts who can help you in the event of an accident.
Depending on the incident, you either have 48 hours or 10 days to file an accident report, according to federal law. You only have 48 hours to file a report if a person is injured to the point that requires more than just first aid, a person disappears and could be injured or dead, or if a person dies from their injuries within 24 hours of the incident. You have 10 days to file the report if the accident caused over $2,000 of damage to boats and property, there is a complete loss of a vessel, or if a person dies from their injuries over 24 hours after the accident.
On top of federal regulations, Mississippi also has boating accident reporting regulations. As stated in the accident report form, the operator of a boat must file a report within five days if they are involved in an accident that results in:
- Property damage over $100
- Medical treatment or disability in excess of 24 hours
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of life
Similar to federal law, though, the operator must file the report within 48 hours if the accident causes injury or death to any person. The report from above must be submitted in writing to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi, or you could face a state penalty with a fine of up to $100 per violation.
Safety Tips for Boating
While accidents are sometimes unavoidable, you can never be too cautious on the water. Here are some ways that you can prevent an accident or be prepared if an incident does happen, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division:
- Take a boating safety course
- Create a plan for where you’re going and what you’ll do if there’s an accident
- Thoroughly check your vessel before you get on the water
- Wear a life jacket that’s the right size—you are legally required to have one for every person on board
- Never drive under the influence
- Don’t speed
- Watch for other boats, jet skis, and people who share the water space with you
- Always stay away from propellers
- Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning
Contact Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC
After you’ve filed an accident report, you’ll want the help of a Jackson boating accident lawyer on your side. At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we know how debilitating a boating accident can be, and how helpless you might feel when an accident you didn’t cause leaves you or your loved one with serious injuries or worse. We’ll support you through this process and fight for justice with your best interests in mind. Reach out to our office today so we can discuss your potential case and get started right away.