Boating is an activity enjoyed by Florida residents and tourists alike. Thousands of people rent boats or own their own and head out on the open water in pursuit of relaxation or adventure. Some people fish, while others just want to socialize with friends while enjoying the sunshine.
Unfortunately, a small percentage of those on recreational boats end up injured. Many of these incidents share certain elements. What is the leading cause of boating tragedies in Florida?
One mistake can cost people their lives
When looking at what causes both fatal and non-fatal incidents, the same issue shows up in more than two out of five reports. Roughly 43% of boating incidents in Florida occur due to inadequate observation of one’s surroundings or a lack of experience.
There were 735 reported boating incidents in Florida in 2022, and 65 people died in those boating incidents. The factor connecting 81% of those who died was a failure to wear a life jacket. Sadly, even though life jackets come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles, adults are often reticent to wear them. Then, in an emergency, they don’t have time to put on a life jacket before they end up in the water.
Often, the consumption of alcohol exacerbates those risk factors. Those injured in a boating incident may have the option of pursuing legal action against the person at fault for the incident. People can recover lost wages, medical expenses and other losses generated by boating collisions and similar incidents.
Of course, it would be better to avoid a boating incident entirely when possible. Understanding what causes boating incidents and fatalities may help people make safer choices out on the water.