Recreational boating is widely enjoyed in Florida. However, due to the nearly 900,000 registered boats and boaters on lakes, rivers, the Intracoastal Waterway and elsewhere, there is a large number of accidents and injuries.
In fact, Florida has the highest number of boating fatalities in the nation year after year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The FWC’s recently released 2014 Boating Accidents Statistical Report also tells us these seven important facts:
1. While the number of registered vessels went up in 2014, the number of reportable accidents went down.
The number of registered vessels in Florida rose slightly, going from 870,749 in 2013 to 873,507 in 2014 (3 percent). At the same time, the number or reportable boating accidents in the state dropped sharply, from 736 in 2013 to 634 in 2014 (13.8 percent).
Additionally, in 2014, boating accidents caused:
The most common type of accident was colliding with another vessel (163 accidents, or 26 percent). Sixteen accidents involved “towed watersport activities” such as skiing and wakeboarding.
Personal watercraft (PWC) such as Jet Skis were involved in 104 accidents, including three of the 16 accidents involving towed activities. Paddlecraft – canoes, kayaks or rowboats – were involved in 19 accidents resulting in 16 fatalities and five injuries.
2. Drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents.
The leading cause of death in 2014 Florida boating accidents was drowning. It occurred in 51 incidents and accounted for 70 percent of boating-related fatalities. Among the fatalities, 18 (28 percent) included falls overboard.
Also, the report indicates that:
Alcohol or drug use played a role in 12 percent of boating fatalities
17 fatalities occurred in July, the most of any month
63 of those who died in boating accidents (86 percent) were male.
3. Boating accidents cause millions of dollars in property damage.
Boating accidents in Florida in 2014 resulted in $10.6 million worth of property damage. In fact, since 2011, these accidents have led to $64.8 million in total property damage.
4. Miami-Dade is the most dangerous county for boaters.
The top 10 Florida counties for boating accidents were all located on the coast, with Miami-Dade having the highest figures in terms of registered vessels, accidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage.
5. Boating accidents are most likely to happen in a bay or sound.
The area with the highest number of boating accident in 2014 was a bay or sound, with 153. This may be due to heavy traffic in such an area. Other places where boating accidents occurred in 2014 were:
6. A boating accident is most likely to involve a collision with another vessel.
When boating crashes occur in Florida, they more often than not involve two vessels. In 2014, there were 163 such accidents. The other types of boating crashes involved
7. Cuts are the most common injury suffered in boating accidents.
A wide range of injuries can occur in boating accidents. According to the 2014 stats, the most common injuries are cuts, or lacerations, with 91. Other types of reported boating injuries in 2014 were:
If you have been involved in a boating accident in Florida through no fault of your own, the law firm of Frank M. Eidson, P.A., will make sure your rights are fully protected, including the right to be justly compensated for your losses. Simply contact our firm by phone or online to schedule a free consultation.