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Louisiana Boating Accidents

Louisiana Revised Statute On Boat Collisions, crashes, and casualties; theft, reporting is La R.S. 34:851.10

Many victims simply fall overboard or are thrown overboard in a collision. Many deaths and injuries can be avoided by wearing Personal Flotation Devices (Life Jackets) and following some basic rules of boating operation. Various Louisiana agencies, like the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the US Coast Guard, set forth the rules of safe boating.

Rules of the Road for vessels upon the waters in the State of Louisiana must be followed. Any violation of the Rules of the Road is evidence of careless or reckless operation.

Pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 34:851.10, the operator/owner of a vessel used for recreational purposes is required to file a report in writing whenever an incident results in: loss of life or disappearance from a vessel; an injury which requires medical treatment beyond first aid; or property damage in excess of $500 or complete loss of the vessel. Reports must be submitted within 5 days. Reports must be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. La R.S. 34:851.10 provides,  §851.10. Collisions, crashes, and casualties; theft, reporting A. It shall be the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers, if any, to render to other persons affected by the collision, crash, or other casualty such assistance as may be practicable and as may be necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger caused by the collision, crash, or other casualty and also to give his name, address, and identification of his vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, crash, or other casualty. B.(1) The operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars must give notice of the incident immediately, by the most prompt means of communication, to the department, the nearest law enforcement agency, or to state police. Law enforcement agencies shall notify the department immediately upon receiving information of a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person or damages in excess of five hundred dollars. The driver of any vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person, or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars shall, within five days after the incident, forward a department-approved incident report form to the department. A full description of the collision or other casualty must be reported and submitted on an official form supplied by the department. In a crash where the operator is incapable of filing a report, each person on board shall bear the responsibility of notifying the department or determining that a report has been submitted. The department shall submit to the United States Coast Guard reportable accidents consistent with the Statement of Understanding between the state of Louisiana and the United States Coast Guard. The department shall provide copies of completed crash reports to any interested person upon request. The department may charge a fee not to exceed five dollars for reports that do not exceed four pages and seven dollars and fifty cents for reports that exceed four pages. The department may also charge a reasonable fee for copies of photographs, videotapes, audiotapes, and any extraordinary-sized documents or documents stored on electronic media. (2) When a collision, crash, or other casualty occurs within the prohibited zone, as defined in R.S. 34:851.2(7), involving a vessel or vessel flotilla within the scope of R.S. 34:851.24(J), the report required by this Subsection shall also be made to the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission within the time period applicable to submitting such report to the department. C. Every owner of a registered boat shall report its theft to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries within five days of discovery of theft. The violation of the provisions of this Subsection shall not be subject to any penalty, including the provisions of R.S. 34:851.31(C) and shall not be construed to be a crime.

If you need help or have any questions about your Louisiana boating accident, call me at 866-558-9151 or submit your inquiry online. Please be advised that you may be facing important legal deadlines, so don’t delay.

Boating Accident Statistics

  • As the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” Louisiana is an ideal place for recreational boating. There were nearly 316,600 motorboats registered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 2008, which is more than one boat for every six households.
  • With this large number of boaters in the state, there are also a large number of boating injuries and fatalities. In 2013, state wildlife officials reported a record low of 13 boating fatalities in Louisiana. The previous low for boating fatalities was 19 in 1992, and the high was in 1974 with 79. Since 2010, Louisiana has an average of 25 boating fatalities a year.
  • Nationally, the Coast Guard counted 4515 boating accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3000 injuries, and approximately $38 million in damage. While alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in boating fatalities and injuries, operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed are the next leading factors of boating accidents. The top five causes of death of boating accidents are drowning, trauma, cardiac arrest, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Although boating remains a popular sport in Louisiana, the large number of boats in use increases the likelihood of an accident. Negligent and reckless drivers can cause harm to fellow passengers, swimmers, and other boats. If you need help or have any questions about your Louisiana boating accident, call me at 866-558-9151 or submit your inquiry online. Please be advised that you may be facing important legal deadlines, so don’t delay

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