Sixty-seven people lost their lives in Florida last year in boating accidents, and there have already been 28 deaths so far this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which has released its 2011 Boating Accident Statistical Report.
The FWC is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and their causes.
“The frequency of boating accidents in Florida and their causes would probably shock most people,” said Investigator Andy Bickel, of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement.
“We want to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths on Florida waters,” Bickel said.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents, statistics show.
“There’s an easy fix. Wear a life jacket,” Bickel said. “There are several styles of life jackets available to boaters that won’t interfere with your boating experience and may save your life.”
Today’s boaters can choose from several models of light and comfortable, inflatable belt-pack and over-the-shoulder life jackets that can be worn while fishing or enjoying the sun, and they do not interfere with boating activities.
Accidents can occur without warning, and if for some reason someone ends up in the water, quite often it’s too late to put on a life jacket.
“The leading type of accident continues to be boaters colliding with other boats or objects,” Bickel said. “With the number of boaters in our beautiful state, it’s important to pay close attention to everything that’s going on around your boat.”
Statistics repeatedly show that boaters who have taken a basic boating safety class are less likely to be involved in a serious boating accident.