Florida leads the nation when it comes to the number of water vessels, at 915,713. However, there are likely at least a million unregistered boats on the water as well. With so many boats and other vessels, it’s no surprise that there are thousands of accidents on the water every year. However, only a portion of those accidents are reported. That’s because one of five criteria need to be met in order to be considered “reportable”:
- There is a fatality
- There is a total loss of a vessel
- At least $2,000 worth of total damage is done to property, including any vessel involved
- A person needs medical attention that goes beyond simple first aid
- A person disappears and it seems they were egregiously injured or killed
Under these requirements, there were 737 reported accidents in Florida in 2015. The most common accident that led to a report was a collision with another boat, which accounted for over a quarter of reports. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Miami-Dade County led the state with the most reported accidents and injuries. Within the area, there were 96 accidents, resulting in 74 injuries and three deaths.
In total, there were 55 fatalities in 2015. Of those, falling overboard was the most common accident, at 42 percent of all accidents. These overboard accidents resulted in 35 instances of drowning, the leading cause of death. In addition, alcohol and drug use was a factor in nearly a fifth of all fatalities. When it comes down to it, being sober and attentive is the best way to stay safe when boating of Florida’s waters.