Boating Accident in Florida
Florida Boating Accident Statistics
Boating is a very popular pastime in Florida. With its perpetual tropical weather and warm, clear waters, Florida is considered a boater’s paradise. Every year more and more people visit and move to Florida, congesting our waterways and making boating accidents more common. Florida leads the nation with the highest number of recreational vessels, with over 1,013,211 registered vessels in 2021. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 751 reportable boating accidents in 2021. Collisions with other vessels or fixed objects were the leading causes of Florida boating accidents. There were 60 reported fatalities in Florida in 2021, with falls overboard being the leading cause of death.
2021 Statistics Summary via Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Reportable Boating Accidents
- Collison with vessel was the leading type of accident with a total of 250 (33%).
- Towed watersport activities were involved in 11 accidents, resulting in 1 fatality and 12 injuries.
- Paddle/Human powered craft (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, paddleboards) were involved in 13 accidents resulting in 10 fatalities. (9 kayaks, 2 canoes, 2 rowboats)
- May was the month with the highest number of accidents (102).
- Miami-Dade County reported the highest number of accidents and injuries (95 total accidents with 7 fatalities and 65 injuries).
Reportable Boating Fatalities
- 59 fatal accidents resulting in 60 fatalities.
- 22% of the fatal accidents resulted from falls overboard (19 accidents). Boaters falling overboard remains the leading category of boating fatality.
- The leading cause of death in fatal boating accidents was drowning with 33 fatalities (55%). • May was the month with the highest number of fatalities (10).
- Alcohol or drug-use is reported to have played a role in 23% of boating fatalities.
- 85% (51) of the victims of fatal boating accidents were males.
- 72% (47) of the 65 operators involved in fatal accidents were age 36 or older.
- 81% (55) of all vessels involved in fatal accidents in 2021 were 21 feet in length or less.
Reportable Boating Injuries
- There were 324 accidents that resulted in 469 injured persons. The rate of injury was 47 injuries per 100,000 registered vessels.
Reportable Personal Watercraft Accidents
- Personal watercraft (PWC) accounted for 16% of all registered vessels in Florida.
- PWC were involved in 26% (195) of reportable boating accidents.
- Rented PWC represented 56% (153) of PWC involved in accidents.
- 52% (101) of PWC accidents involved a collision with another vessel.
- 44% of PWC accidents occurred in Miami-Dade (37), Monroe (31) and Pinellas (18) counties.
- 17 fatalities resulted from the 195 PWC accidents.
- 162 people were injured in PWC accidents.
2021 Reportable Boating Accidents
Top 10 Counties
- Miami-Dade - 95
- Monroe - 91
- Palm Beach - 54
- Lee - 51
- Pinellas - 40
- Broward - 30
- Okaloosa - 28
- Collier - 28
- Brevard - 26
- Hillsborough - 20
Immediately Following the Accident
If you were involved in a boat accident in Florida, it is required that you stop your boat immediately at the scene of the accident. It's crucial to check that everyone is still on board the vehicle and that all passengers are accounted for. It is not uncommon for passengers to go overboard during a boating accident. It is recommended to safely move your vehicle to an area that allows you to safely check all passengers for injuries or make appropriate rescues. You are required to assist those who have been injured or are in distress, as long as you are able to do so without risking the safety of others or yourself.
Once everyone is accounted for and assessed, under Florida law, those involved in the accident must provide their name, address, and boat information, in writing, to any person who was injured and to the owner of any property that was damaged as a result of the accident.
When Is a Written Boating Accident Report Required?
You are required to file an accident report boating when the following circumstances occur:
- A vessel or equipment results in death within 24 hours of occurrence
- An injury occurs requiring more than first aid
- A disappearance of a person
- There is damage to a boat or property of $2,000 or more
To file a boating accident report, contact either The Division of Law Enforcement, FWC, The county sheriff from where the accident occurred, or the police department in the municipality where the accident occurred. If you are unsure whether your accident warrants a report, it is best to make one, as not doing so in a circumstance when it is required is a criminal offense.
The law for reporting boating accidents in Florida is Florida Revised Statutes 327.30 Vessel Safety – Collisions, Accidents, and Casualties. The law requires a driver involved in a collision to take certain steps, including notifying law enforcement after an accident occurs and exchanging information with others who were involved in the accident.
We recommend keeping a US Coast Guard Boating Accident Report form on board with you at all times. This way you can quickly document all the important aspects and details of the accident in a timely manner.
Boating Accident in Florida
If you were involved in a Florida boating accident, you have important rights under Florida law that allow you to obtain recovery for your losses under certain circumstances. These may include compensation for bodily injury, lost wages due to injury, current and future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering. If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, it is in your best interest to immediately contact a Florida personal injury attorney. Under Florida law, you have a maximum of four years from the date of the accident to file a boat accident claim. If you have questions about a boating accident, call Robert Gluck today at (877) Gluck-Law, or email him directly at [email protected]