Recently in Miami, three boats traveling at high speed collided, killing four people and injuring nine,The Christian Science Monitor reports. Accidents like this one provide a reminder of the dangers of boating and of the unfortunate prevalence of boating accidents and boating-related injuries, especially in the summer months.
Boating Accidents in the United States
The Christian Science Monitor provides the following information and statistics related to boating accidents in the United States in 2013, per the United States Coast Guard:
- 2,620 injuries were reported on United States waters in 2013;
- 60 deaths were reported in United States waters in 2013, which amounts to 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered boats;
- The number of deaths in 2013 represents a 23 percent drop from 2011 statistics; and
- The five most common contributing factors in boating accidents are:
o operator inattention;
o improper lookout;
o operator inexperience;
o excessive speed; and
o machinery failure.
Boating Accidents in Florida
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides the following information and statistics regarding boating accidents in Florida in its 2013 Boating Accidents Statistical Report:
- In 2013, Florida had the most boating accidents of any state in the U.S., with 736;
- In 2013, Florida had 896,632 registered vessels;
- Florida had 420 boating-related injuries in 2013, which amounts to 47 injuries per 100,000 registered boats;
- The most common type of boating-related injury in Florida in 2013 was lacerations (112), followed by contusions (61), broken bones (58), head injuries (36), back injuries (21), burns (18), sprains/strains (18), internal injuries (14), neck injuries (11), shock (7), hypothermia (5), amputation (2), spinal injuries (2) and teeth/jaw injuries (1). Injuries with no information reported also accounted for 54 injuries;
- Florida had 62 boating-related deaths in 2013, which amounts to 6.9 deaths per 100,000 registered boats;
- In 2013, the month of December had the most boating-related deaths, with 12, followed by September (10), May (7), June (6), April (5), January (4), February (4), March (4), July (4), August (3), September (3) and November (0);
- In 2013, the highest number of accidents occurred between 4 p.m. and 5:59 p.m. (12 accidents); and
- Seventeen deaths occurred as a result of falling overboard in 2013, followed by collisions with fixed objects (14), flooding (6), other (4), collisions with vessels (3), capsizing (3), falls on PWC (2), grounding (1), skier hit object (1), struck by boat (1) and vessel wake damage (1).
Boating Safety Tips
While boating in Florida—or before boating in Florida—remember the following safety tips, per the United States Coast Guard:
- Take a boating safety course; 70 percent of boating accidents are the result of operator error;
- Do not boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Wear a life jacket; and
- Inspect your boat’s condition every time it enters the water.
Although boating has become safer in recent years, boating accidents and boating-related injuries and fatalities still occur far too frequently. If you have been injured in a boating accident in Florida contact an experienced attorney at Reed & Reed with offices in Brandon and Tampa for a consultation to seek compensation for your injuries.