Wear your life jackets boys...
FWC publishes boating accident stats
July 6, 2007
Contact: Lt. Edward Cates (850) 488-5600
Florida’s boating accident rate (671) for 2006 was second only to California’s 757. Florida led the nation with 69 fatalities, compared to 47 for Texas and 44 for California.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said the high numbers reflect the reality that Floridians own more than 1 million registered recreational vessels, and they use them throughout the year.
All but eight of the fatalities were the result of drowning, and none of the drowning victims were wearing life jackets.
The most likely county for boaters to be in an accident was Monroe, followed in order by Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Lee, Broward, Collier, Brevard, Escambia and Duval.
The most likely month for the accident to happen was July. The most likely time of day to be in an accident was 4-6 p.m., and the most common type of accident was a collision with another vessel or a fixed object.
Accidents occur most frequently on rivers or creeks, but the number of accidents on the ocean or gulf or in a bay or sound are almost as high. Nearly 600 of the state’s accidents occurred while the vessel was cruising, and more than 400 of them occurred when the operator was not trying to change direction while cruising. Small vessels, especially those under 18 feet long, were the most likely to be involved in accidents.
A typical accident involved a privately owned vessel, operated carelessly or without a lookout, with the operator being a male at least 22 years old – most likely 36-50 years old.
The 85-page report on 2006 boating accidents in Florida is available online at MyFWC.com/law/boating.