The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a recreational boating accident that occurred at Fort De Soto Park near Tampa in Pinellas County, according to sources. The accident occurred around 8 p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day Weekend, and investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor.
A 20-foot Mako boat carrying five men crashed into a green navigational marker, according to the Tampa Bay Times. One of the men on board was severely injured and rushed to Bayfront Medical Center, according to Baryl Martin of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The injured man remains in critical condition and no names have been released.
Alcohol use is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents involving the 12.4 million registered watercraft in the United States. There were 126 deaths and 293 injuries in the 330 reported alcohol-related accidents nationally in 2010.
“It’s starting to get recognized that boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated,” says Lt. Cody Jones, a game warden for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “You’re in a 1-ton vehicle, but this vehicle doesn’t have brakes, and there’s no lane of traffic or stop sign to direct you.”
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