Florida has ranked among the highest, if not the highest, in boating deaths for years. There are many factors that feed into the statistics. Still, the death toll on Florida waters is substantially higher than it needs to be. According to a News Service of Florida article, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported, boating accidents had increased by 7.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, but boating deaths were tied at 67. That’s 67 too many.

Operator’s Inattention Leads to Accidents

According to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the leading cause of boating accidents last year was due to the inattention of the operator. If the person in control of the boat does not provide sufficient attention, accidents can happen. Many of these accidents end up being fatal.

Last year boating accidents in Florida increased from the year before by 52, for a total of 766, the most in the nation. Of the 67 people who died in 2017, the leading cause was due to falling overboard and drowning.

Lifejackets Save Lives

Had all of those people been wearing lifejackets at the time they fell overboard, they would have had a much better chance at survival. 81 percent of the victims who perished last year were not wearing lifejackets. Florida law requires there be one type of approved personal flotation device (PFD) on board for each person on the vessel. If you are not actually wearing the PFD when you fall overboard, it is not going to do you any good.

When a person has been drinking, becomes disorientated or gets knocked out while falling from the boat, the opportunities for safe rescue lessen, especially if the boat’s operator is not aware there is a problem. Lifejackets today are more comfortable and less bulky than their predecessors; wearing one may save your life if there is an accident.

Florida: More Boats, More Boating Deaths

It is reasonable to assume Florida is going to have more boating accidents simply because they have more registered vessels than other states. That doesn’t mean many of the boating deaths on Florida waters aren’t preventable. The use of lifejackets will prevent some deaths, and boat operators who pay close attention to what they are doing and who provide adequate lookouts will also help.

Collisions caused by distraction or inattention can be easily avoided. These accidents occur when boats collide with other boats, pilings, buoys, and docks. Proper education about the rules of boating can also aid in lowering the number of boating accidents and boating deaths.

The havoc created in families due to personal injuries can be heartbreaking. Caring, compassionate legal representation can make a difference when you are seeking compensation for losses. The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., are lawyers who care. Our offices are located in the southwest communities of Port Charlotte, Englewood, and North Port. If you or loved ones are seeking legal representation for a personal injury case, call us at (941) 979-9010 for a free initial consultation.