In 2017, Florida had 766 boating accidents, 52 more accidents than in 2016. With its release of these 2017 boating statistics, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages boaters to focus on simple, effective steps that make boating safer.
“For 2017, the leading contributor to boating accidents was the operator's inattention or failure to maintain a proper lookout. It is critical for operators to be diligent in observing and being aware of what is going on around them,” said Lt. Seth Wagner from the FWC's Boating and Waterways Section.
“It's important that while out relaxing and enjoying Florida's beautiful waters, boaters remember to be safe,” Wagner said.
Of the 766 accidents in 2017, 261 boating accidents involved collisions and 38 percent of all collisions were due to inattention or the operator failing to maintain a proper lookout. A total of 67 people lost their lives last year in boating accidents. Falls overboard have been the leading type of fatal accident since 2003, with drowning as the leading cause of death.
Eighty-one percent of these victims were not wearing a life jacket. Today's boaters can choose from several models of light and comfortable inflatable belt-pack or over-the-shoulder life jackets that can be worn while fishing or enjoying the sun. Boating accident statistics support an important message: “Life Jackets Save Lives.”
Here are some helpful boat safety tips you can use to make sure you and your family enjoy a happy and safe summer on Pensacola's beautiful waterways.
You can review an index or the complete copy of the FWC's 2017 Boating Accident Statistical Report here.