Frequently asked questions about accident reporting
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Questions and answers
Q. Why should I report an accident or incident?
A master or skipper must report any accident, incident or serious harm injury under section 31 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994. This applies to all New Zealand vessels.
This is a legal obligation and failing to report is an offence with a fine up to $5,000 for individuals and $30,000 for companies.
Q. When do I need to report an accident?
You must report an accident “as soon as practicable”. This means as soon as you are able to do so after you have secured the safety of people, your boat and the environment, and when you have communication available.
Q. What’s the definition of an accident, incident or serious harm injury?
Accidents include events such as any damage to a vessel which may affect its strength or seaworthiness, groundings, collisions, machinery failures and steering loss.
Incidents include a near collision or a near grounding.
Serious harm injuries (legally defined as mishaps) include, but are not limited to, death; amputation of a body part; burns; loss of consciousness; and any harm that causes a person to be hospitalized for a period of 48 hours or more.
In the case of a serious harm injury on board a vessel, there is a further legal requirement for reporting under section 56 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015. In this case, there is an additional form that the boat owner must complete.
Minor injuries, such as a small cut or sprain do not have to be reported to MNZ.
Q. What is done with the information from an accident report?
Sometimes people are concerned that reporting an accident or incident to MNZ will result in prosecution. In exceptional circumstances, MNZ may use the information provided to support an investigation, however this is very rarely the case.
The real value of the accident reporting process and the resulting analysis is the development of more effective safety strategies and advice for skippers to avoid similar events in the future.