It is often from the unpleasant experiences of others that the rest of us can learn how to be safe on the water.
The Washington State Legislature recognized this fact, and charged
the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission with the
responsibility to develop an accident reporting system. By law, a boat
operator/owner must report any accident causing damage over $500,
requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of life or
disappearance of any person engaged in recreational boating. Contact the
local law enforcement agency or the Washington State Parks and
Recreation Commission for boating accident reports; commonly called a
BAR. Reports in death and injury cases must be submitted within 48hrs;
Reports in other cases are required within 10 days. When the operator is
incapacitated, the owner or law enforcement agency shall complete the
Accidents & Injuries
Serious injury accidents, fatalities or disappearances are required to be investigated by local law enforcement authorities.
The boating accident report that you complete is confidential and may
help save lives in the future. The report will be used by State Parks
only to develop boating safety programs. The report cannot, by law, be
used in any court or trial resulting from the accident.
When an accident happens the vessel's operator must offer practical
assistance to save the people aboard the stricken vessel from danger,
when doing so does not seriously endanger the operator's own vessel and
State law has a "Good Samaritan" clause for mariners who offer help in an emergency:
Under no circumstances may the rendering of assistance or other
compliance with this section be evidence of the liability of such
operators for the collision, accident, or casualty.
Any person who complies with subsection (1) of this section or who
gratuitously and in good faith renders assistance at the scene of a
vessel collision, accident, or other casualty, without objection of the
person assisted, shall not be held liable for any civil damages as a
result of the rendering of assistance or for any act or omission in
providing or arranging salvage, towage, medical treatment, or other
assistance, where the assisting person acts as any reasonably prudent
person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. (Reference: RCW 79A.60.200)
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Spokane County Marine Enforcement Unit at 509-477-7608.