According to new statistics, the majority of boaters involved in Florida boating accidents between 2004 and 2009 have never taken boating safety training. In fact, up to 90% of boaters involved in accidents have failed to take safety training. In many cases, these people rely on common sense or experience. However, the statistics suggest that formal training may be crucial in helping boaters avoid accidents.
According to experts, many Florida boating accidents are caused by lack of formal training, lack of life jackets, and carelessness on the water. Authorities are worried that people continue to die as a result of Florida brain injuries and drownings resulting from boating accidents. Despite more legislation, awareness campaigns, and stepped-up enforcement, Florida is still notorious for boating accidents.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), there have been 97 boating accident fatalities in Central Florida alone since 2004. Another 350 boaters sustained injuries in accidents during the same time period. Orange county and Polk county have the highest rates of boating accident fatalities, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Statewide, there were over 400 Florida boating accident fatalities and 2400 injuries between 2004 and 2009. According to the most recent 2009 data, 60% of boaters involved in fatal Florida accidents had over 100 hours of boating experience. In about 70% of these accidents, death was due to drowning.
As the number of registered boats in Florida continues to rise and as Florida hangs on to the dubious distinction of having one of the highest boating accident rates in the nation, law enforcement officials are concerned and searching for new ways to help prevent accidents on the state’s waterways. One new law should help. A new law passed by the Florida Legislature last year makes it mandatory for anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to complete basic boating safety courses before operating a boat. The FWC says the law is a good start but doesn’t go far enough in requiring older boaters to get needed training, too.
Advocates for improved boating safety are concerned that the new law does not ensure that everyone gets safety training. They are also disappointed that regulations placing stricter controls on alcohol use and life jacket use have not been implemented. Many experts say that requiring life jackets and making drinking and boating illegal – and punishable by large fines – could remove two key causes of Florida boating accidents.
If you have been injured in a Florida boating accident, contact the experienced and compassionate legal team at the Flaxman Law Group. With thousands of successful cases and a track record of providing help to victims in Homestead, Hollywood, Miami, and the entire South Florida area, the Flaxman Law Group offers the experience and trial expertise you may want for your case. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.