From the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf Coast, Florida boasts 1,350 miles of pristine coastline. In addition, it’s home to over 4,300 miles of lakes, swamps, and reservoirs. It is truly a boaters paradise, which is why there were nearly 1 million registered boat owners in Florida in 2017. Unfortunately, more boaters mean more boating accidents.
According to the 2017 Boating Accidental Statistical Report issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, boating accidents are on the rise in Florida. In fact, in 2017, there were 52 more boating accidents than the year before, putting the total number at 766. Sadly, 76 people lost their lives.
What Caused the Increase in Boating Accidents
The leading cause of boating accidents in 2017 was operator inattention and lack of situational awareness. Operator inattention is a very serious problem when on the water. Just like drivers behind the wheel of a car, boat operators have a responsibility to stay alert and attentive when behind the wheel. Constantly being on the lookout for other boats, swimmers, and debris in the water is critical to staying safe on the water.
Life Jackets Save Lives
A recent report found that an astonishing 81% of boating accident victims were not wearing life jackets. The Conservation Commission hopes that a new campaign called “Life Jackets Save Lives” will encourage boaters to wear their life jackets whenever they are out on the water. Doing so greatly reduces the chance of being involved in a fatal boating accident.
Florida Boating Safety Tips
In addition to wearing your life jacket, here are a few other boating safety tips:
- Always Check the Weather – Check the weather forecast before venturing out. Florida weather can be unpredictable, especially during hot summer months. Have a contingency plan in place about what to do should strong storms develop before you’re able to get back to your dock.
- Checklists – Use a pre-departure checklist every time you’re planning on hitting the water to ensure nothing important is left behind.
- Stay Alert – Stay alert, especially in crowded areas. Watch for swimmers, other boats, and buoys.
- Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol and boating do not mix. The likelihood of a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
- Take a Boating Safety Course – Even if you’ve been operating a boat for a long time, it is always a good idea to take a boating safety course.
Injured in a Boating Accident in Florida?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a boating accident in Florida, there are several steps you need to take today that will protect your right to compensation tomorrow. One of those steps is to call the personal injury attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet at (386) 255-6400 so that we can help you put your life together. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case.