2017 boating accident statistics provide an opportunity for boating safety reminders
With the release of the 2017 Boating Accident Statistical Report, 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.
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.
“It’s important that while out relaxing and enjoying Florida’s beautiful waters, boaters remember to be safe,” Wagner said.
Florida had 766 boating accidents in 2017, 52 more accidents than in 2016. However, there was no change in the number of fatalities. 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.”
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 theme of accident-related messages from FWC staff is clear: Officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.
For a copy of the 2017 Boating Accident Statistical Report, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and select “Safety & Education” and “Boating Accidents.”