Over the past 12 months, the number of boat accidents and boating-related deaths continues to surge in Florida, and they show no sign of slowing.
What’s causing the sudden increase in boating accidents? Many speculate that the increased population, already seen in post-pandemic Florida traffic statistics, may have something to do with the surge. But many more say that the post-pandemic summer hype may be part of the cause. The so-called “Spit-Swapping Roaring-‘20s Post-Pandemic Summer”.1
Most Florida boating accidents occur in the summer, specifically between April and July. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, most of the boat accident happened in the Florida Keys and Miami-Dade County.2
Already, police were out in full force and ready for the increased numbers over the memorial day weekend. Thankfully, few if any major accidents were reported over the weekend.
“Most of the comments I heard over the weekend were related to the water. It seemed like we had more boats in the water than ever,” said Judy Hull, director of the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce.3
Boating safety is still vital. Officials remind boaters and captains how dangerous high speeds on the water can be and how quickly a wrong decision can change everything. It’s important to remember to use the same level of care when operating a boat on the water as it is to operate a car on the road.
Miami-Dade officials also promised to crack down and enforce boating laws and regulations in an attempt to curtail the rising accident statistics. Boaters can expect many more safety checks on the water in the coming summer weeks.
Though many coronavirus boating regulations are still in place, though not strictly enforced, safety should still be a top priority, especially now that there are so many more boats on the water in Florida. Here are some tips to stay safe on the water this summer:
- Have a designated driver. Drinking while operating a boat is illegal.
- Operate the boat at lower speeds.
- Keep an eye on other water traffic.
- Have all your safety equipment on board. Including lifejackets, a first aid kit, a flare gun, etc.
If you find yourself in a boat accident or having a water-related emergency, you can and should call 9-1-1 just as you would if you were involved in a car accident on the road.