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What You Need To Know About Boating Accidents In Florida

Florida has the single highest number of registered boats in the entire United States, with over 900,000 registered recreational vessels, and more than a million estimated unregistered canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks. Within the entire country, Florida is home to 7% of all American registered boats, and 11.5% of the nation’s boating fatalities. Florida is no stranger to its fair share of boating accidents, these ranging from the minor and inconvenient to the deadly and devastating.

South Florida, in particular, is home to the most boating accidents. A Boating Accidents Statistical Report released in 2016 showed the following counties leading all of Florida in boating accidents:

• Broward
• Miami-Dade
• Lee
• Pinellas
• Palm Beach
• Monroe

Florida is also the most highly impacted by alcohol related boating accidents. When one considers DWI offense, they typically think about cars, trucks, and motorcycles, but boating has its fair share of DWI related accidents as well. Alcohol is the primary contributing factor in two times as many boating accidents in Florida than anywhere else in the United States. Celebratory months with vacationers coming to Florida and a general relaxed atmosphere see the most alcohol related boating accidents, with accidents typically peaking in July each year.

Take To The Water Safely

Taking to the water safely is your best defense against finding yourself in a boating accident in Florida. Life jackets should be worn by everyone on the boat regardless of age or swimming strength, boater safety courses should be taken before driving a boat, safety checks should be performed before the boat ever leaves dock, and always avoid alcohol or any impairing substances before getting behind the helm. However, even when all precautions are taken, one cannot guarantee that the negligence of another party will not lead to an unfortunate boating accident in the end.

The Most Common Boating Accident Injuries

Boating accident injuries can be particularly severe, and this is due to the involvement of deep water alongside any other injuries that may be experienced. For instance, if a person slips and falls on the street, and hits their head, they can lay comfortably on the ground until they receive medical attention. If a person slips from the deck of a boat after hitting their head, and they fall into the water face-down or without a life-vest, this can turn into a potentially life threatening situation in just seconds. Some of the most common boating accident injuries experienced in Florida are:

• Drowning – Drowning can occur with or without additional injury in boating accidents, and even an injury like a soft tissue injury can inhibit a person’s ability to keep their head above water. For this reason, it’s important to always be prepared with a functional life vest at all times while on the water.

• Lacerations – Many boats are equipped with an exposed propeller that allows them to move through the water at high rates of speed. Should a person move to close to the propeller, or slip and fall into the propeller, this may lead to serious lacerations.

• Electrocution – The electrical components in a boat require a good amount of electrical current. With poor boat maintenance, standing water can come into contact with these electrical components and lead to serious cases of electrical shock.