How to Report a Boating Accident

March 6, 2024

In Canada, many of the laws governing safe driving of motorized boats are similar to those governing safe driving of other motor vehicles.

For example, to operate a pleasure craft legally in Canada, you need:

Reporting an accident involving a pleasure craft

Just as you would in the case of a car accident, you must call the local police if you are in a boating accident involving a pleasure craft.

If the incident is an emergency, you can call 911.

Serious boating accidents

It is your legal responsibility to contact the police immediately if the boating accident caused:

  • The death of any person
  • Injury that requires hospitalization
  • Property damage exceeding $5000.

Other specifications may apply and if you have been in a boating accident with serious consequences, you could benefit from consulting with a lawyer. 

Reporting another type of marine transportation occurrence

If you wish to report a marine transportation occurrence involving a ship, you can contact the Transportation Board of Canada.

If you wish to report an incident involving a search and rescue effort, you can call the appropriate number for your province

Common causes of boating accidents

These are the common causes of boating accidents which all boat operators should be aware of:

  • Operator Negligence: If you are in an accident involving a boat operator who does not hold a proof of competency card, your lawyer will easily be able to build a case against that operator .
  • Bad weather: Inclement weather is one of the most common causes of boating accidents. High winds and rough water can lead to boat capsizing and other accidents.
  • Alcohol or drug use: According to the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to operate a motorized pleasure craft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as driving impaired commonly leads to deadly accidents. If DUI is a factor in an accident, the operator will be charged as severely as if driving any other type of motor vehicle.
  • Poorly maintained equipment or boat: Every boat owner is responsible for purchasing a boat the is up to standard and maintaining their boat. You will be held responsible for the condition of your boat if it is a factor in an accident or collision. Mechanical failure is a common cause of boating accidents. 
  • Inadequate safety training: If you know what to do in various dangerous situations, you will be better prepared to respond quickly and correctly, reducing the likelihood of further damage or injury as a result of a boating accident. 

Be prepared to boat safely with a Pleasure Craft Operator Card

Boating accidents can result in serious injury and even death. Often they can be prevented with proper training and awareness of safety procedures. 

Get your official Canadian boating license by taking our Transport Canada-approved boater safety course so you can take to the water with confidence!

Get your card today