We want to welcome our readers to the first installment of a brand new series of Boating Safety blogs we are launching on our Heintz & Becker website and Facebook page. Unfortunately, the State of Florida, which leads the country and has more boat registrations than any other state, also led the country in 2014 and had more boating related accidents and deaths than any other state – the majority of which could have been prevented.
Our initial thought was that alcohol use and going too fast would be behind most boating accidents, but we were wrong. While these are significant issues, they are not among the top three factors behind most boating accidents. Surprisingly, the top three factors behind most boating accidents are:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
How can this be? Well, for starters, Florida’s boater safety education requirements are minimal and apply only to individuals born after January 1, 1988. That means it’s perfectly legal for anyone born prior to that date (i.e., the majority of us) to drive a boat without having had any safety training whatsoever. What that means is that it is left mostly to individuals to voluntarily attend safety courses and learn how to safely operate and navigate their vessels.
Being able to enjoy boating is one of Florida’s top recreational attractions. But, going out on a boat is not all fun and games – and anyone going boating is putting their life in the hands of the person driving. So, the message we want everyone to get from the initial blog in our new series dedicated to boating safety is to ALWAYS make safety a priority and NEVER go boating with an inexperienced or irresponsible driver.
While it is our sincere wish that you and your family never experience a boating related accident, if you or a member of your family is ever injured on a boat due to the negligence of someone else, please make an appointment to see one of our attorneys to discuss your legal rights.
Source(s): WUFT.org., “Florida Leads Country In Boating Accidents, Deaths”, posted July 30, 2015; U.S. Coast Guard, “2014 Boating Accident Report”; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,“2014 Boating Accident Statistics”