Boating accidents on the rise in Florida

Certain parts of Florida are seeing a high number of “reportable” boat accidents. Reportable nautical accidents are those that either cause more than $2,000 in property damage or involve injury, disappearance or death. Overall, the state saw a surge in boat accidents in 2011, unfortunately.

Most deaths were due to drowning, and almost all victims were men. The most common accident was falling overboard, according to reports. Ten of the accidents causing death involved alcohol, and more than 300 boaters were arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated.

Nine people died from boating accidents in both November and August, making them the deadliest months, while the time between 2 and 6 p.m. was considered the most dangerous.

Monroe County took the most dangerous spot for boaters, with 2011 showing almost 100 boating accidents. Two people fishing died after a crash into a utility pole, and two powerboat crashes took the life of three people in a November race in Key West. The total cost is more than $1 million from sinkings and collisions.

The second most dangerous county in Florida is Miami-Dade County, with about 75 accidents and a total cost of more than $16 million in damages.

The reports come from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which said the numbers have jumped at least 20 percent since 2010.

The most interesting fact about the statistics is that the number of registered boats has decreased. However, an accident report states non-registered boaters are in the hundreds of thousands and increasing.

In all of 2011, Florida reported almost 750 boating accidents and almost 70 fatalities. Many of the accidents occurred because one boat hit another or struck an object in the water.

Source: Miami Herald, “Keys No. 1 in Florida boating accidents; Miami-Dade right behind,” Kevin Wadlow, July 23, 2012

• Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Florida boating accidents page.