News Releases

2015 boating accident statistics provide an opportunity for boating safety reminders

News Release

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Media contact: Rob Klepper, 850-617-9666 or Robert.Klepper@MyFWC.com

With the release of the 2015 Boating Accident Statistical Report, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages boaters to focus on simple, effective steps that make boating safer.

“Many of the accidents in this report could have been prevented if the boat operators had paid attention to everything going on around their vessel, maintained a proper lookout and if everyone had been wearing a life jacket,” said Capt. Tom Shipp, FWC Boating and Waterways Section.

The FWC is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and their causes. The theme of accident-related messages from FWC staff is clear: officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.

“Often, accidents can be prevented by more careful operation,” said Lt. Seth Wagner, FWC Boating and Waterways Section. “It is critical for operators to maintain a proper lookout and focus on what is going on around their boat at all times.”

Nearly half of boating accidents in 2015 involved collisions and 34 percent of all collisions were due to inattention or the operator failing to maintain a proper look-out.

“The leading type of accident continues to be boaters colliding with other boats or objects,” Wagner said. “With the number of boaters in our beautiful state, it’s important to pay close attention to everything that’s going on around you.”

Florida had 737 boating accidents in 2015. That is 103 more accidents as compared to 2014, however, there was a 25 percent decrease in fatalities. A total of 55 people lost their lives last year in boating accidents. Falls overboard have been the leading type of fatal accident since 2003 with drowning as the leading cause of death and 87 percent of these victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Today’s boaters can choose from several models of light and comfortable, inflatable belt-pack or over-the-shoulder life jackets that can be worn while fishing or enjoying the sun. The message is clear, ‘Life Jackets Save Lives.’

For a copy of the 2015 Boating Accident Statistical Report, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and select “Safety and Education” and “Boating Accidents.”



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