As the weather gets warmer each spring, Louisiana residents take to the waterways in their boats. Whether it’s the love of fishing or sailing or just bobbing over the waves on a sunny day, recreational boating is a fun pastime for many in the Bayou State.
But if there are more people out in boats on the water, the risk of a boating accident increases markedly. That’s why it is important to understand boaters’ responsibilities after a collision or other accident on the water.
If you have the misfortune of getting into a boating accident on your next excursion on one of our many rivers or lakes, you have the duty to report said incident to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Below is some useful information that all recreational boaters should have.
The operator of a vessel that was involved in an accident, collision or another casualty on the water has to immediately stop their vessel at the scene. When others are injured, you have the duty to render aid to anyone who is injured. You also must try to minimize any hazards from the accident or incident unless taking any steps would create danger for your own boat, passengers and crew.
You are obliged to give your name and address in writing, as well as the identifying number of your boat, to anyone who wound up injured in the accident and also to the owners of the damaged property.
Accidents where a person was injured or killed on the water, or if they cannot be located in the vessel or the water, the property damage is likely to exceed $500 or the vessel sinks require the notification of the Law Enforcement Division of the LDWF, the parish law enforcement agency or the Louisiana State Police.
But your responsibility does not end there, as you also have to complete and submit an Incident Report Form within five days to the LDWF.
If you were injured in a collision on the water, you can take action to hold the at-fault parties liable for you damages and injuries.