The weather is heating up, and in a state where we experience year-round sunshine, boating is a fun, frequent activity for many. In fact, Florida leads the nation in the number of registered recreational vessels (more than 800,000) with Minnesota trailing close behind. Unfortunately, the Sunshine State also holds the highest number of boating accidents and fatalities per year.

Sad Statistics

Each year, the United States Coast Guard compiles information on recreational boating accidents across the nation. The most recent report available states that while we saw a decrease in the number of Florida boating accidents between 2013 and 2014, the number of fatalities rose. 581 accidents in 2014 led to 327 injuries and 70 deaths across the state– the highest number we’ve seen since 2007. According to the report, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

Boating Under the Influence

Yes, you can receive a DUI while boating in Florida. Operating a vessel with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above is presumed to be under the influence. Drinking while driving a boat puts yourself and others in serious danger and could land you in jail– or worse. Don’t risk it. Designate a sober driver, just as you would before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Other Contributing Factors to Florida Boating Accidents

The top five primary contributing factors in boating accidents across the U.S. are as follows:

  • Operator inattention
  • Improper lookout
  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol use

The Boat U.S. Foundation offers a free online boating safety course for those interested in learning more about safe, clean, and responsible boating. In the event one of the following occurs, you must report the incident to The Division of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

  • Death or disappearance of a person
  • Injury requiring medical attention beyond basic first aid
  • Damage to the vessel or other property totaling $2000 or more

Florida boating accidents injure far too many people each year. If you’ve been hurt in a boating accident due to another person’s recklessness, call The Ruth Law Team at 1-888-783-8378 or find out more information on boating injuries. We can help you Get Justice.