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How Safe are Florida’s Waters for Boaters?

May 21, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Year round recreational boating is a luxury that Florida residents and vacationers enjoy. While boating can be a fun activity on the water, it can also be dangerous for operators and passengers. Carelessness and inattention are the leading causes of boating accidents in Florida.

The most recent statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) show that in 2010, there were approximately 940,000 registered vessels in Florida. During that time frame, there were 389 reported boating injuries, with laceration being the most common type of injury. Other types of injuries from boating included:

  • Broken bones
  • Contusions
  • Head and back injuries
  • Hypothermia
  • Amputations and dislocations
  • Shock

Surprisingly, 93 percent of the boaters injured in 2010 knew how to swim, which illustrates how a boating injury can hamper your movement in the water. Unfortunately, not all boat operators on Florida’s waters are trained and certified in boat or personal watercraft operation.

Effective January 1, 2010, boat operators who were born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card in order to operate a motorboat with ten horsepower or more. An experienced operator can make all the difference and make your time on the safer and more enjoyable.

Has an inexperienced or careless boat operator injured you?