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If you're involved in an incident

What to do during and after a boating or marine incident. How to respond and report on the incident or emergency.

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What to do during an incident

If you're involved in a marine incident, you must always stop and give as much help as possible. If you need help, alert search and rescue services.

Marine incidents include when:

  • a person is killed or injured on a vessel
  • a person falls overboard
  • a person is hit by a vessel or its propeller
  • a vessel is involved in a 'close quarters' situation – for example, when taking evasive action to avoid colliding with another vessel
  • a vessel sinks, capsizes, runs aground or floods
  • a vessel collides with another vessel or object
  • there's a fire or explosion on board a vessel
  • a vessel causes damage to the environment.

What to do after an incident

Stop your vessel and give as much help as possible. As the skipper, you must show any required licence or certificate of competency and give your details to everyone involved in the incident.

If Transport for NSW authorised officers or police attend, the skipper of each vessel involved must give:

  • full identification, including their name and address
  • time, place and description of the incident
  • name and/or registration or permit number of their vessel
  • name and address of every person involved, including any witnesses
  • extent of any injury or damage caused by the incident
  • any required boat or PWC licence or certificate of competency.

When to report an incident

The skipper of each vessel involved must submit a Vessel Incident Report if:

  • a person is killed or injured
  • there's more than $5000 worth of damage to a vessel or other property, or
  • there's damage or a risk of damage to the environment.

You must submit the report within 24 hours. Download or complete the Vessel Incident Report form online, or get a hardcopy from a service centre, police station or Marine Rescue NSW

You do not need to submit a report if you gave these details to authorised officers at the incident.

Incident investigations

Transport for NSW (Maritime) investigates a range of marine incidents, including those involving recreational and commercial vessels, ports and ships.

We also investigate breaches of legislation, for example, not following navigation rules, licensing rules, environmental regulations or speed limits.

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