November 18, 2015

Florida Boating Accident Statistics

Categories: Personal Injury

Work with the Tampa Boat Accident attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore!

With Florida’s more than 2,000 miles of shoreline and over 11,000 miles of rivers, streams, and waterways, boating is a staple of the state’s recreation. Commercial boats, personal watercraft, yachts, and boats used in a variety of Florida industries rely on our waterways to boost our economy and improve our lives.

Unfortunately, though, boating is hardly risk-free.

In the 2013 Boating Accidents Statistical Report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reaffirmed that Florida has more registered vessels than any other state, with a 2013 total of 896,632 vessels. Even with all those vessels, there were only 736 reported accidents that year, resulting in 420 injuries – a rate of 47 injuries for every 100,000 vessels. 62 deaths resulted. (As a comparison, in that same year, there were over 18.7 million cars on the road in Florida, with almost 317,000 accidents, 210,887 injuries, and 2,402 fatalities. That’s 1128 injuries and 13 fatalities for every 100,000 vehicles.)

Though the numbers of boating accidents may seem low compared to traffic accident statistics, boaters would do well to remember that a few precautions can help keep those numbers down.

Boating Insurance: A tragic majority of boaters are not covered by insurance. Though your homeowner’s insurance policies might cover some very small vessels, anything large enough to dock will normally need its own policy.

Falling Overboard vs. Collisions: On the road, the largest cause of injury and death is a collision between vehicles. On the water, however, the leading cause of death (74%) is drowning – and it’s usually preceded by a boater falling overboard. In fact, 42% of the 2013 fatal accidents involved someone falling overboard. When a personal watercraft (PWC) is involved, however, the incidence of collisions seems to jump, with 40% of PWC accidents involving collisions with another vehicle.

Alcohol and Drug Use: 15% of fatalities in boating were related to alcohol or drug use. Though this number, too, is lower than the 31% of traffic fatalities attributed to alcohol-impaired driving, it is still important to drink responsibly when boating.

At Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore, we care about your safety when boating, and look forward to even fewer boating-related injuries and fatalities in the future. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence while boating, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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