Boating Safety Reminders as Florida Passes One Million Recreational Boats | Way of life

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that Florida has passed one million registered recreational boats. The first four counties, in order from most to least, are:

  • Miami-Dade with 74,622
  • Pinellas County with 53,867
  • Lee County with 50,304,
  • Broward County with 47,741.

Two of the counties, Miami-Dade and Broward, are close to each other, bringing the total number of recreational boats registered in South Florida to more than 122,000.

As Florida Trend reported, the Commission is keen to stress the importance of boating safety now that boat registrations have passed one million. “With more boats on the water, we want to spread the word about boating safety to residents and visitors who enjoy Florida’s year-round boating season,” said Major Rob Beaton.

In 2021 alone, 469 injuries were reported due to boating accidents, 60 of which resulted in death, as reported in the Florida Wildlife Commission’s 2021 Boating Accident Statistical Report. The most common cause of boating accidents was reported to be an operator’s inattention or failure to maintain proper supervision, accounting for 44% of all reported boating accidents in 2020. Additionally, Florida was l ‘Highest ranked state for boating fatalities and accidents. in the United States in 2019. Those numbers are only expected to increase now that the state has more than one million registered craft, many of which are condensed into two neighboring counties.

Tips for staying safe on the water

As the weather warms up and we prepare for the Memorial Day holiday when many boaters take to the water, the operator of every boat should follow safety precautions to avoid possible injury or tragedy. Here are some boating safety reminders:

● Take a boating safety course: 70% of deaths due to boating accidents occur on board boats whose operator has not received any safety instruction. Find a list of paid and free boating safety courses at USCG Boating.

● Abstain from drinking alcohol: Alcohol is the leading contributory factor in boating accident deaths when the primary cause is known. Designate a sober boat captain before heading out on the water.

● Wear a Life Jacket: Florida law requires all watercraft to carry a USCG-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board. Yet life jackets only work if everyone on board wears one. According to USCG boating statistics for 2019, 79% of boating deaths were due to drowning and 86% of those victims were not wearing a lifejacket.

● Use engine cut-off devices: An engine cut-off device, or engine kill switch, shuts down propulsion machinery when the boat operator is not at the helm. A boat operator can also use a portable engine kill switch device as an added safety measure.

● Follow the weather: The weather in Florida is unpredictable and often changes quickly. A boat operator should always check the weather forecast before setting out and check the onboard weather reports frequently.

Talk to a nautical lawyer

If we all do our part to make safety a priority while boating, we can help keep our friends, family and neighbors safe.

The Panter, Panter & Sampedro team is here to help when you or a loved one is involved in a boating accident due to the negligence of another. Call and speak to an experienced boating attorney at (305) 662-6178.

Mitchell Panter, Esq., is a Certified Civil Attorney, Community Advocate, and Managing Partner at Pennsylvanianter, Panter & Sampedro, Pennsylvania.


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