Experts are worried about the higher-than-average number of Florida boating accidents this year. The state recently saw its 25th water fatality of the year when a Sanford man was involved in a fatal boating accident on St. Johns River this past week. The man’s personal watercraft collided with another boat, and Christopher J. Lydon, passed away from the injuries. Although Lyndon was given immediate medical assistance, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators are still investigating the accident but are pointing to this latest incident as part of a growing trend. FWC boating law administrator Capt. Richard Moore has stated that if current rates of boating accidents continue, this year could be one of the most deadly years for boating accidents in the last 15 years.
Reports suggest that a majority of boating accidents – this year as in previous years – are caused in part or in whole by boat operator inattentiveness. Five of this year’s boating accident fatalities occurred in the state’s northeast area and in addition to the fatalities there are at least two people missing and presumed dead. In addition, a number of personal injuries have occurred from boating accidents this year.
Capt. Moore has suggested that it is imperative that boaters practice extra caution. The peak boating season has not even begun and there are already many fatalities. Moore states that boaters can dramatically reduce accidents and accident-related injuries and deaths simply by taking two precautions:
*Stay alert. Accidents can be prevented if boaters remain aware of their surroundings and are prepared to react quickly to any surprises.
*Wear life jackets. According to Moore, when accidents do occur, wearing a life jacket correctly can help prevent drowning.
According to authorities, FWC officers will be on the water across Florida’s waterways during the entire boating season. These officers will be watching for potential hazards and will be enforcing laws. The FWC is also encouraging boaters to take boating safety classes, which can teach boat operators the basics of staying safe on the water.