The 2017 Boating Accident Statistical Report was issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Wednesday, May 16. In its press release, FWC reported that there was nearly a 14 percent increase in accidents during 2017.
There were 261 boating accidents which involved collisions, and 38 percent of all the collisions were due to inattention or the operator failing to maintain a proper lookout. Lt. Seth Wagner from FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section said, “It’s important that while out relaxing and enjoying Florida’s beautiful waters, boaters remember to be safe.”
In reviewing the statistics, 63 percent of Florida boating accidents in 2017 occurred in 10 counties. The FWC found that Lee and Collier Counties were in the top 10 of Florida counties with Lee County ranking 5 and Collier County ranking 8. (Charlotte County was not among the top 10.)
Lee County – Open motor boats had the most accidents in 2017 with the primary cause of accidents being “no proper look-out/inattention”. The primary type of accident was a collision with another vessel.
Collier County – Open motor boats also had the most accidents in 2017, and the primary causes were “no proper look-out/inattention” and the weather. The primary type of accident was first flooding (swamping), then collision with another vessel.
The FWC 2017 report indicates that there were 52 more accidents than in the previous year, but no change in the fatality rate. 67 people lost their lives in boating accidents with falling overboard being the leading type of fatal accident, and drowning was the leading cause of death. Of those who died in boating accidents in 2017, 81 percent were not wearing life jackets.
SafeBoatingCampaign.com (SBC) recommends that everyone on board a boat wear a life jacket at all times while boating. For every person on board a boat, boat operators/owners are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket available on board. SBC reminds boaters that accidents happen quickly, and there often is not time to think about putting on life jackets.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), children under the age of 6 are required to wear a USCG-approved Type I, II or III personal flotation device while onboard a vessel under 26 feet in length while the vessel is underway. “Underway” is defined as anytime except when the vessel is anchored, moored, made fast to the shore or aground.
Life jacket fit and care are important. SBC recommends reviewing owner’s manuals for specific information. In general, a life jacket should not be too large; it should be properly fastened, and all straps, buckles or zippers should be secure.
“Boating and fishing are relaxing and a fun experience shared by many. We at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. would like everyone to enjoy this activity in a safe manner. Should you or a loved one be injured in a boating accident, please contact our experienced legal team. We are available 24/7, and there are no costs or attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you,” said Fort Myers Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey.
Fort Myers Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.