(1) The operator of a vessel that is in any manner involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, forward a written report of the accident to the division. Whenever the operator of the vessel is incapable of making a written report, the owner of the vessel shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, make the report not made by the operator. However, when the investigating officer has made a written report of the accident pursuant to subsection (3), a written report need not be forwarded to the division by the operator.
(2) The division may require any operator of a vessel involved in an accident of which written report must be made as provided in this section to file supplemental written reports whenever the original report is insufficient in the opinion of the division, and may require any witness to the accident to render a report to the division.
(3) Every law enforcement officer who in the regular course of duty investigates a boating accident that resulted in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within 24 hours after completing the investigation, forward a written report of the accident to the division. However, in every case in which an accident report is required by this section and a written report by a law enforcement officer is not prepared, the law enforcement officer shall provide each party involved in the accident a short-form report, prescribed by the division, to be completed by the party. The short-form report must include, but is not limited to: the date, time, and location of the accident; a description of the vessels involved; the names and addresses of the parties involved; the names and addresses of witnesses; and the name, badge number, and law enforcement agency of the officer investigating the accident. Accident reports made by law enforcement officers may not be used for commercial solicitation purposes; however, use of an accident report for purposes of publication in a newspaper or other news periodical or a radio or television broadcast shall not be construed as a “commercial purpose.”
(4) Except as specified in this subsection, each accident report made by a person involved in an accident and any statement made by such person to a law enforcement officer for the purpose of completing an accident report required by this section is without prejudice to the individual reporting. Such report or statement may not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal. However, subject to the applicable rules of evidence, a law enforcement officer who is a witness in a criminal trial may testify as to any statement made to the officer by the person involved in the accident if that person’s privilege against self-incrimination is not violated. The results of breath, urine, and blood tests administered as provided in s. 327.352 or s. 327.353 are not confidential and shall be admissible into evidence in accordance with the provisions of s. 327.354. Accident reports made by persons involved in accidents may not be used for commercial solicitation purposes; however, use of an accident report for purposes of publication in a newspaper or other news periodical or a radio or television broadcast shall not be construed as a “commercial purpose.” (5) For the purposes of this section, a written report includes a report generated through the use of information technology resources as defined in s. 282.0041. (6) If the vessel is leased, rented, or chartered at the time of the accident, the person who offered the vessel for lease, rental, or charter shall be responsible for complying with this section and s. 327.30.
(7) Any person failing to file the written report required under subsection (1) or a supplemental written report when required by the division under subsection (2) is guilty of a noncriminal infraction.