Marine Accident Reporting Requirements

by | Thursday, July 10, 2014 |

The reporting requirements for marine accidents and casualties differ depending upon whether the vessel was commercial or recreational. The general requirements for accident reporting are discussed below but you’ll want to contact the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) for specific requirements to ensure you satisfy all the legal requirements.

The Importance of Maritime Accident Reporting


  • compiles accident information;
  • conducts investigations; and
  • reviews case studies to provide insight into the causes of marine accidents.

Armed with marine accident reporting data and statistics, they are able to take action to reduce the risk of vessel casualties.

The USCG uses the knowledge they gather to:

  • supply the public with statistics;
  • modify policies; and
  • create safety protocols that can help everyone on the water.

Commercial Vessel Accident Reporting

The legal requirements for marine casualty and accident reporting for commercial vessels are covered in 46 CFR 4.01 – 4.06.05-1. As soon as the immediate safety concerns have been addressed, "the owner, agent, master, operator, or

person in charge, shall must notify the nearest Marine Safety Office, Marine Inspection Office, or Coast Guard Group Office" if there is a marine casualty involving any of the following:

  • an unintentional grounding or strike with a bridge;
  • an intentional grounding that causes a hazard to the vessel or the environment;
  • loss of functionality, e.g., steering or propulsion, that results in reduced maneuverability of the vessel;
  • an occurrence that affects the seaworthiness of the vessel, e.g., fire, flood, failed bilge pump systems, etc.;
  • loss of life;
  • injury that needed medical attention beyond first aid; or
  • over $25,000 in property damage.

Within five days, the accident can be reported using Form CG_2692, Report of Maritime Casualty. If the accident is defined as serious, as per 46 CFR 4.03, the accident must be reported using form CG_2692b, Report of Required Drug and Alcohol Testing Following a Serious Maritime Incident.

Recreational Vessel Accident Reporting

Recreational boating accidents should be reporting using Form CG_3865, Recreational Boating Accident Report. The USCG estimates that it takes roughly 30 minutes to complete the form.

The types of information you’re required to give on the report include:

  • the number of fatalities or injuries;
  • approximate amount of property damage;
  • an accident summary including the location, the number of people involved, and a description of what occurred;
  • the vessel identification information;
  • safety check background;
  • onboard provisions;
  • water conditions;
  • contributing factors to the accident (alcohol, weather, overloading);
  • the injured person’s name, contact info, and injury details; and
  • your name and contact info.

If there is an injury, disappearance, or death in a maritime incident, it must be reported to the USCG within 48 hours. If there is only property damage, you have ten days to submit a report.

Downloads for Maritime Industry

You can download the vessel accident reporting forms on the USCG website using the links provided.

Another helpful download you might find useful is Marine Education Textbooks’ guidebook: Deck Study Recommendations, the guidebook provides helpful information about:

  • credentials and endorsements;
  • watchkeeping codes; and
  • National Maritime Center contact information.

Find more articles of interest to vessel owners on the Marine Education Textbooks blog.

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