How many boating accidents happen in Florida each year?
There is some risk associated when you get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle. Boating accidents are far less common than automobile accidents, but the fact remains that every year drivers and passengers are injured or killed in boating accidents. The US Coast Guard captures that data each and every year so we can see totals, causes, trends, and find ways to improve boater safety.
According to the US Coast Guard’s most recent data, there were 4,168 total boating accidents in the United States in 2019. Of that total, 556 (13.3%) were fatal, 1,785 (42.8%) caused non-fatal injuries, and 1,827 (43.8%) caused no injury, but incurred property damage to the boat or nearby property. In total, there were 2559 injuries and 613 deaths.
While those numbers are a reflection of the entire country, let’s take a closer look at Florida specifically.
In that same data from the US Coast Guard, there were 679 reported boating accidents in Florida in 2019. Of those 679, 55 (8.1%) included a casualty and 299 (44%) reported a non-fatal injury, while 325 (47.8%) of them caused only property damage. In total, those accidents accounted for $9,232,015.99 in damages.
Of all the accidents that took place in Florida, there were 62 total deaths and 421 total injuries.
Although Florida accounts for the highest total accidents of any state in the US by more than 300 accidents, the percentages of fatalities are well below the national average and the percentage of injuries is nearly identical.
While boating is generally a very safe activity, understanding the rules of the water and boating responsibly are key to avoiding accidents. In fact, 23 percent of boating fatalities indicate that alcohol use was the leading factor. Perhaps even more striking is the fact that 70 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boater safety instruction.
There are many resources available for safer boating in Florida, including a mandatory boater safety course. At Florida Mariner, we advocate for safe and responsible boating and will continue to provide tips and resources to help the Florida boating community stay safe.