Florida is the perfect state for all things related to boats and fun on the water. With our bright sunshine and generally beautiful weather, these tropical climes provide people with rest, relaxation and tons of fun, while riding the waves or drifting lazily along waiting for the wind to fill the sails. Boating is truly one of the most enjoyable and rewarding activities Florida has to offer. It’s also one of the most troublesome.
The Most Fun and Most Accidents
According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the state of Florida has the most registered recreational vessels, and the number of those has been rising since 2013. In 2014, there was a noticeable dip in reportable accidents but the following year that number increased to where it had been in 2013. Though the accident level decreased in 2016 from 737 to 714, the severity of the accidents that did occur was a serious matter.
Of all the states, in 2016, Florida had the greatest number of fatalities on the water with 52 people died in boating accidents. This was a 20-percent increase in boating fatalities, while the overall average increase of boating fatalities was just under 2-percent.
What’s Behind the Accidents?
Most of the deaths were due to drowning. People failed to use their life jackets, and alcohol or drug use was involved in some of the deaths. With Florida having the most registered vessels, one would expect to see more accidents than in states with fewer registered boats. At the same time, most of the accidents which do occur are preventable.
As with car accidents, a majority of boat accidents are caused by inattentiveness or distraction. Lack of attention has resulted in collisions with other boats, as well as docks, pilings, and buoys. Drinking while driving makes the waterways hazardous, just as it does on the roadways.
Another major cause of boating accidents is inexperience. When the driver doesn’t understand the right-of-way or what speeds are safe in certain areas, accidents are bound to happen. Again, these are preventable situations.
Steps for a Safer Experience
Know the rules of the water. Take a boating safety course. These courses are provided by the Coast Guard Auxiliary in areas around the state. Drive sober and pay attention to your surroundings. Florida has beautiful waters that can provide immense fun for those who take precautions.
Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., are specialists in personal injury law. We have offices located in the southwest Florida areas of Englewood, North Port, and Port Charlotte. If you need expert, compassionate legal help, give us a call at (941) 960-7225. We are the lawyers who care, and your first consultation is complimentary.