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Florida’s Boating Accident Rates Are Worrisome – But There is Hope

Florida has many waterways perfect for boating. Possibly as a result, the state is second in the nation when it comes to boating accidents, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Within the state, Okaloosa and Bay counties were in the top 10 Florida counties for accidents. The two counties combined saw more than fifty reported accidents in 2004 alone. Escambia ranked 18th in the state and Santa Rosa ranked 24th.

Florida has a number of laws meant to reduce boating accidents. Boaters 21 years of age and under must have a Florida Boating Safety ID whenever operating a boat with an engine of at least 10 horsepower. These IDs can be obtained by taking a boating safety course. The course must be approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in order for the boater to qualify for the ID. Once the course is completed to satisfaction, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will issue the card.

Although only those who are 21 years of age or younger are required by law to have the ID card, every new boater and every boater operating a new type of vessel is encouraged to take NASBLA-approved courses to learn the basics of boating safety. Most boating accidents can be prevented when vessel operators have the right boat operating skills.

Today, getting a course in boating safety is even simpler. An on-line course is available from The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The course, “How To Boat Smart, Florida Boating Safety Course,” helps boaters learn about equipment requirements, rules of the waterways, boating skills, and other topics essential for water safety. Other groups, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer classes at a number of convenient locations. Even experienced boaters may find that they can decrease their odds of an accident by taking a course.

Of course, not all boaters take courses or learn the basics of safety. In some cases, weather and other factors create dangerous conditions on the water. If you have been injured in a boating accident, you may require legal help in order to get assistance with the medical bills and suffering you have endured. If you have been inured, feel free to call 1- 800-535-2962 (1 800 5 FLAXMAN) for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options and choices.

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