Florida is considered a boater’s “paradise.” With the oceans surrounding and the waterways it creates a beauty for boating yearly. However, with so many boats out in the ocean at the same time comes boats colliding with one another.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), 836 boating accidents occurred and 402 of those accidents were collisions. These collisions happened because the operator of the boat was either not paying attention or not properly looking out for other boats. Like Lt. Seth Wagner, FWC Boating and Waterways Section, stated in the reports released by the FWC, “operators are not paying attention to hazards or too distracted by their phones or other occupants on the boat.”
As mentioned before 836 boating accidents happened in 2020, 113 more accidents than the previous year. The tragedy is how 79 of these accidents resulted in death. That is up 16% from 2019 and the highest percentage total of deaths seen since 2011. Falling off a boat is another cause of accidents that end in fatality. Falling overboard can lead to individuals drowning which is the lead cause of the deaths that occur. According to a TC Palm article, 53% of deaths in boat accidents come from drowning and that 73% of those victims were not wearing life vests.
Memorial Day week and weekend is a huge weekend for boating in Florida. Since it is so popular, the week of May 22-28 is now considered Safe Boating Week. This gives boaters time to further educate themselves on boat safety and how to avoid boating accidents or deaths from happening. Forty-four percent of the accidents due to operators of the boat were 36 and older. These individuals admitted that they did not properly learn to operate the boat. However, now Florida is making it a rule that any boater born on January 1, 1988, or later are required to have a Florida boating ID and must take and pass a safety boating training class. Educating operators of a boat on proper boat safety will help prevent boating accidents from happening often.
If you know of someone who has been injured or has lost someone in a boating accident, call the personal injury lawyers at Cohen and Cohen Law for more details.