Florida is a water lover’s paradise. There are plenty of recreational boating opportunities, both on the open ocean and on inland waters. Recreational boating enthusiasts choose to live in Florida or vacation in the sunshine state for a reason.
There will be plenty of locations and likely ideal weather for them to pursue their passion and get out onto the water. Unfortunately, boating comes with a certain degree of danger. In fact, that danger has been on the rise in recent years.
According to statistics from 2020, boaters may have a higher risk of dying or getting hurt now than they did just a few years ago.
What do the boating statistics say?
Florida is often the state with the highest number of boating injuries and/or deaths across the nation. Some years, Florida’s fatalities more than double the number in the next most dangerous state for boaters, often Texas or California.
In 2020, there were 79 boating fatalities in Florida, up from 65 in 2019 and 59 in 2018. Experts declared last year the most deadly one on Florida waters in over a decade. The most common causes of fatalities were falls overboard, collision with fixed objects and capsizing. Collision with another vessel, skiing accidents and fire were also on the list.
The number of injuries reported because of a boating incident also rose. In 2019, there were 453 reported boating injuries. In 2020, there were 534. The top reported injuries included lacerations, broken bones, contusions, head injuries and back injuries.
How can you protect yourself?
There are numerous ways that you can reduce your likelihood of getting hurt in a boating incident. One of the most obvious is to follow the law. Choosing not to boat while drinking or doing drugs is important. So too is the proper maintenance of your boat and any recreational equipment, like tow lines for skiers.
Keeping a close eye on the weather and on the proximity of objects and other vessels can also help. So can wearing personal flotation devices at all times, as many boaters who down go overboard without a flotation device.
Of course, you are always at risk of getting into a boating incident caused by someone else who doesn’t follow the same safety rules that you do. Understanding you have the right to take action after a boating accident can be as important as knowing how to avoid one.