Florida Leads the Country in Boating Accidents

Charlie Jackson and Jason Cobb recently went together on a boating trip on Lake Jessup. Both turned up dead days later. Investigators believe that the two were involved in a boating accident that threw both of them from the boat.

Boating accidents appear too often in the pages of Florida newspapers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reports that Florida has more boat accidents and boat-related deaths than any other state in the US, an unfortunate fact that has been true for ten out of the past eleven years. The year 2011 saw seven hundred and forty-two reported boating accidents, which lead to sixty-seven deaths, mostly caused by crashes with other boats and buoys.

There are three major reasons for the alarmingly high number of boat accidents in Florida:

  • Boating is very popular in the state, and takes place year-round. Lots of boating means that statistically there will be more accidents
  • Many boaters do not take proper safety precautions. For example, only 22% of boaters wear life jackets, according to a study by the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Boating while drinking (BWI) contributes to the high number of accidents and fatalities. Nearly a third of all fatal boat accidents come from mixing drinking and boating.

Improved education to boaters about risks and proper boating technique will hopefully decrease the number of accidents and increase the safety of all who enjoy Florida’s coasts. Courses are available in person and online from various organizations, including the Coast Guard and the FWC.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, contact us for more information about your rights.

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