When a collision occurs between two vessels or a vessel and an obstruction it can range from a minor bump to a major collision which could result in severe injuries, death, fire, explosion, pollution, swamping or sinking of the vessel.

Your actions will depend on the particular circumstances of the collision.

For minor incidents not involving injury or severe damage and dangerous side-effects ...

  • Immediately after the collision account for all persons onboard.
  • Stop, render assistance to the other vessel if required.
  • Exchange information with the other vessel operator.
  • Stand by until the operator of the other vessel no longer requires assistance.

For a major collision or a collision involving personal injury or substantial damage, take the following actions, as appropriate.

  • In the event of fire, explosion, swamping, sinking, pollution, severe personal injuries ... issue a MAYDAY call.   Exhibit distress signals as appropriate.
  • Immediately after the collision account for all persons onboard.
  • All persons onboard should be wearing PFDs.
  • Prepare to ABANDON SHIP, depending on the circumstances.
  • Consider whether you can take action to stop leaks or repair other damage.
  • Incidents involving damage over $5000 require a report to local law enforcement authorities.
  • Incidents involving personal injury requiring medical attention require a report to Coast Guard.
  • If you and your crew can render assistance to the other vessel without further risk to your vessel or crew, do so.