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Accidents & Reporting Requirements

U.S. Coast Guard reporting requirements for accidents at sea and  N.T.S.B. online database of marine accident reports.

Accidents

Adapted from, Beating the Odds: A Guide to Commercial Fishing Safety, 7th Edition, Jerry Dzugan and Susan Clark Jensen, 2018

Accident Reporting Requirements

  1. Commercial fishermen are required by law to file U.S. Coast Guard form 2692, Report of Marine Accident, Injury, or Death, when the following occur:​

    • Loss of main propulsion or primary steering, or an associated component or control system, the loss of which causes a reduction of the maneuvering capabilities of the vessel. Loss means that systems, component parts, subsystems, or control systems do not perform the specified or required function.

    • An occurrence materially and adversely affecting the vessel’s seaworthiness or fitness for service or route, including but not limited to fire, flooding, failure of or damage to fixed fire extinguishing systems, lifesaving equipment, or bilge pumping system.

    • Loss of life.

    • Injury that requires professional medical treatment beyond first aid, and, in the case of a person engaged or employed on board a vessel in commercial service, that renders the individual unfit to perform routine vessel duties.

    • An occurrence not meeting any of the above criteria but resulting in damage to property in excess of $25,000. Damage cost includes the cost of labor and material to restore the property to the condition that existed prior to the casualty, but it does not include the cost of salvage, cleaning, gas freeing, drydocking, or demurrage. A $1,000 civil penalty may be assessed if form 2692 is not filed within 5 days of the incident.

  2. All accidental groundings and any intentional groundings that also meet any of the other reporting criteria or create a hazard to navigation, the environment, or the safety of the vessel.

  3. Commercial fishermen who are involved in a serious marine incident are required by law to be tested for both drug and alcohol use. The testing must take place at the earliest convenient time that
    does not hinder vessel safety. A serious marine incident includes the following events involving a vessel in commercial service:

    • Any marine casualty or accident that results in:

      • One or more deaths.

      • An injury to the crewmember, passenger, or other person that requires professional medical treatment beyond first aid, and, in the case of a person employed on board a vessel in commercial service, that renders the individual unfit to perform routine vessel duties.

      • Damage to property in excess of $100,000.

      • Actual or constructive total loss of any vessel subject to inspection under 46 U.S.C. 3301.

      • Actual or constructive total loss of any self-propelled vessel, not subject to inspection under 46 U.S.C. 3301, of 100 gross tons or more.

    • A discharge of oil of 10,000 gallons or more into the navigable waters of the United States, as defined in 33 U.S.C. 1321, whether or not resulting from a marine casualty.

    • A discharge of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance into the navigable waters of the United States, or a release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance into the environment of the United States, whether or not resulting from a marine casualty.

 

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Reports
The NTSB has the authority to investigate aircraft, train, bus, and fishing vessel accidents. It usually limits its marine investigations to accidents involving ships of at least 100 gross tons valued at more than $500,000, or when six or more lives are lost. It also holds hearings when accidents of a potentially recurring nature occur, or if there is widespread public interest. NTSB has investigated several fishing vessel accidents in the past two decades. Copies of their reports, which also contain a section on recommendations that might help prevent similar accidents, may be seen at https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/marine.aspx.