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Boating Safety

Boating safety is a prime concern of the Virginia Marine Police.

We conduct thousands of inspections each year to ensure boaters have the required safety equipment on hand when they are on the water, and conduct search and rescue operations when problems arise.

For emergencies, boating accidents and to report violations call the Marine Police Dispatch Center toll free at (800) 541-4646.

In addition to vessel safety inspections, the Virginia Marine Police participate in boating while intoxicated check points with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries processes vessel titling and registration, as well as promoting boating safety education and new state-required safety classes. Information on those education requirements and classes can be found at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/.

Federal and state law requires boat operators (or the owner if the operator is deceased or unable to make the report) to file a boating accident report with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries if a person dies, disappears, is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid, or damages are incurred to property or equipment that total $2,000 or more.

It is the duty of every operator involved in a collision to stop and offer assistance.

Operators involved in a collision, who knowingly fail to comply with this law when the collision or accident results in serious bodily injury to, or the death of, any person, can face felony charges. When a collision or accident results in only property damage, an operator who does not stop and offer assistance may be found guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

The Coast Guard also promotes boating safety and their Boating Safety Resource Center provides valuable information.

The National Safe Boating Council is another handy resource for all things boating.

The water can be a dangerous place and incidents can happen in a split second. The Virginia Marine Police urges boaters to be knowledgeable, safe, and prepared.



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