With boating season just around the corner, many residents and tourists are looking forward to enjoying Florida’s gorgeous lakes and beaches. There is nothing better than hitting the water on a nice sunny day with family and friends. But you must always make safety the number one priority. A boating accident can turn a day out or a great vacation into a nightmare. Here are some accident statistics from the US Boating Safety Resource Center to keep in mind:
- The US Coast Guard responded to 4,730 accidents in 2009. 736 of these involved a fatalities and 3,358 caused injuries.
- Boat accidents caused $36 million in property damage in 2009.
- 75% of all the fatal accidents in 2009 involved a drowning victim. 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- 70% of drowning victims were on boat 21 feet or less.
- Only 14% of fatal accidents occurred with a boat driver who had received some sort of boating safety instruction.
- Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boat accidents.
- Operator inattention, inexperience, excessive speed, failure to look out and alcohol are the top five factors in fatal accidents.
So keep these facts in mind this year as you enjoy the Florida waters and sun. Do not drink and boat, follow the law, wear a life jacket and pay attention.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A.—Orlando wrongful death attorneys.