More Boats in Florida, More Boating Accidents
Did you know that there are more registered boats in Florida than in any other state in the country? According to a report from ABC 7 News, Florida leads the nation in registered vessels, with more than 950 currently registered throughout the state. While many Floridians enjoy boating year-round, and numerous visitors to the state engage in boating and other water sport activities while on vacation in West Palm Beach and other Florida cities, boat accidents do happen. Indeed, the more registered vessels and boats on the water, the more likely that a boating accident will happen. The same logic tends to hold true when it comes to car accidents, as well. When there are more vehicles on the roads, there is a greater chance of a collision.
According to the report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued its 2018 Boating Accident Statistical Report earlier this summer; boating accidents have declined in Florida. However, a decrease in the rate of boating accidents does not mean that Florida residents and visitors should stop paying attention to safety issues. We want to provide you with more information about the FWC report, along with tips for safe boating on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
FWC Report Emphasizes that Simple Safety Steps Can Make a Difference
The FWC report indicated that there were a total of 628 boating accidents in Florida in 2018, which represented an 18 percent decrease from the previous year. The rate of fatal boat accidents also declined slightly, with a total of 59 reported boat accident deaths. Even that rate of boat accidents and fatalities is too high given that most of these incidents are preventable.
According to the FWC, boaters should “focus on simple, effective steps to make the hobby safer.” Just taking a few basic safety measures can help to avoid a boat collision or an overboard drowning accident. The majority of boat accident fatalities occur as a result of people falling overboard without a life jacket and drowning. To be sure, “drowning is the leading cause of death,” and serious and fatal injuries are more likely to happen when waterways are particularly busy in Florida.
As Bekah Nelson, a spokesperson for FWC explained, summertime is the busiest time of year for Florida’s waterways given that residents and tourists alike are engaged in boating and other water activities. Nelson underscored that “Florida is the boating capital of the world,” and while that means individuals and families can enjoy boating, they should also take important safety precautions.
Tips for Staying Safe While Boating
As the FWC report explains, simple boating safety tips can be extremely effective in preventing an accident. The following is a list of boating safety tips from Discover Boating:
- Take a boating safety course before going out on a boat;
- Get a vessel safety check for your boat from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary;
- Create and follow a pre-departure checklist;
- Do not go out in bad weather or water conditions, or if bad conditions are forecasted;
- Understand nautical “road” rules and follow them;
- Make a float plan, which involves providing someone onshore with all necessary details about your boat trip;
- Avoid drinking alcohol while boating; and
- Always wear a life jacket, and ensure that everyone onboard wears a life jacket.
Learn More from a West Palm Beach Boating Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member sustained injuries in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence or careless behavior, a West Palm Beach boating accident lawyer can help. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC today.