Alcohol is the Number One Cause of Florida Boating AccidentsTampa Bay Legal News
As published in the United States Coast Guard’s 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics Report, alcohol is the number one contributing factor in deadly boating accidents in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. Even as the overall rate of fatalities decreased, alcohol remained a leading factor in boating accidents that resulted in the loss of at least one life.
Primary Contributing Factor
Although the total number of boat accident fatalities had declined by just over 3% from the year before, in 2019, 614 boating fatalities were reported across the United States. Out of those 614 deaths, 141 of them (23%) were the result of intoxicated boat operators.
The number of overall boating accidents, however, rose by close to 1% in 2019, from 4,145 to 4,168, bringing with it a 2% increase in the number of boating accident-related injuries.
The state of Florida has shown a similar trend. As reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in 2018 there were a recorded 54 boating accident fatalities across the state, a higher number than was reported by any other state. Out of all of Florida’s fatal boating accidents in 2018, 22% were caused by a boat operator who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Other Contributing Factors
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the United States Coast Guard have reported that, according to recent research, other primary contributing factors include but are not limited to:
- Operator distraction
- Excessive speed
- Operator inexperience
- Improper lookout
Open motorboats, including crafts such as flat-boats, skiffs, and center consoles, showed the highest rates of accident fatalities, 63% statewide and 48% nationwide. Kayaks and canoes were second on the list for their accident fatality rate, 14% statewide and 14% nationwide. The craft with the third highest fatality rate was personal watercraft, such as jet skis, at 11% statewide and 8% nationwide.
Liability in Florida Boating Accidents
Liability is the legal verbiage that denotes legal responsibility. The determination of who is liable for paying out financial compensation for the losses and damages arising from boating accidents in Florida usually relies entirely on who is found to be negligent.
Boat operators and the operators of other types of watercraft have a statutory duty of care to use their crafts in a way that assures their safety and the safety of those around them and in a way that falls under the standards of reasonable behavior. Choosing to disregard this duty of care and obligation to public safety can result in that driver being found responsible for the resulting accident.
Those who have sustained injuries or lost a member of their family due to a boating accident might be entitled to file a Florida personal injury claim in order to seek financial compensation for medical expenses, lost income, wrongful death in Tampa, and many more.
Reach out to our personal injury law offices in Tampa today by calling (813) 463-0123 and scheduling an appointment for your free, no-obligation personal injury consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.