2020 was the deadliest year for Florida boaters in at least a decade, and a recent report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides some insight into where most of those fatalities are occurring.
The year saw a total of 836 boating accidents, an increase of 16 percent over 2019’s figures.
The top counties in the state for boating accidents and fatalities were as follows:
- Monroe County, 99 accidents and nine deaths
- Miami-Dade County, 95 accidents and five deaths
- Palm Beach County, 56 accidents and seven deaths
- Pinellas County, 56 accidents and four deaths
- Lee County, 48 accidents and three deaths
- Okaloosa County, 31 accidents and two deaths
- Bay County, 29 accidents and four deaths
Okaloosa County was also the top county in the state for boating under the influence arrests, a behavior that is commonly linked with larger incidence of accidents and fatalities.
The total of 79 boating deaths in the state was the highest since at least 2011.
Many of the “rules of the water” boat operators must follow are very similar to the rules of the road operators of motor vehicles must follow. Operators must stay attentive and watch for hazards, must operate at a reasonable rate of speed, must avoid operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, must yield the right of way whenever appropriate and must have the proper training to legally operate the vessel.
For more information about the steps to take if you have been injured in a boating accident caused by another person’s negligence, contact a trusted Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.