Report: Florida sees uptick in boating accidents

Florida sees uptick in boating accidents for 2017
Florida sees uptick in boating accidents for 2017
Posted at 3:36 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 13:47:39-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Florida recorded 766 boating accidents in 2017, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, while 67 boating-related deaths matched the total from 2016, according a recent report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The agency says its “2017 Boating Accident Statistical Report” is used to encourage boaters to focus on simple, effective steps to make boating safer.

People falling overboard has been the leading type of fatal accident for the past 15 years, according to the report. Drowning is the leading cause of death.

Seth Wagner of FWC says most accidents and injuries could be prevented if boaters pay attention to their surrounding and use basic safety measures.

“That usually results from paying too much attention to the people inside your boat, or things going on, and not really looking out around where your vessel is going or where other vessels may be coming to you and actually identifying what those are and if they may be a hazard,” said Wagner.

More than one-third of the 2017 accidents involved collisions between vessels, of which 38 percent were due to inattention or the operator failing to maintain a proper lookout.

This week is National Safe Boating Week, and FWC officers will be on the water making sure boaters have the necessary life jackets, whistles and other required safety equipment.