Boating Accidents in Florida Drop in 2022, But Fatalities Rise

According to a report from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC), the number of boating accidents in Florida decreased in 2022 as compared with 2021, but the number of boating fatalities nonetheless still increased. The Sunshine State experienced 735 accidents last year, which was sixteen fewer than in 2021, but there were sixty-five fatalities, an increase of five from the prior year. A lack of experience and education was the common denominator in the great majority of the fatal accidents; of the sixty-five deaths, forty-five of the boat operators in those accidents had no formal boating education whatsoever. The report also reflected that Florida now has 1.03 million registered boats, more than any other state in the country.

Florida Laws Regarding Boating

Florida law regarding operating a boat is similar to that concerning the operation of motor vehicles. For example, like the driver of a car, Florida law requires the operator of a boat to utilize ordinary care to keep his passengers as well as, nearby boaters safe. If a boat’s operator is negligent in the operation of his vessel, then the boat operator can be sued for negligence under Florida law by either his own passengers or other boaters if the boater’s negligence results in an accident that injures or kills someone.

This is where boat operator education is so important. While Florida does not require boat operators to obtain a license, anyone who was born on or after January 1,1988, is required to have completed an FWC-approved boater safety education course as well as to have obtained a Boating Safety Education Identification Card from the FWC.

Should Florida Require More In Terms of Boat Operator Licensure?

While it is positive that Florida has education requirements in place for boaters who were born in 1988 or later, there remains a question as to why there are not similar requirements in place for boaters older than that. Sixty-five people died in boating accidents in the state in 2022, forty-five of whom were killed in an accident involving a boat piloted by someone who lacked the proper boating safety educational background needed in order to safely operate a boat in the state with the most boats in the country.

In a boating accident? Contact The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

Boating accidents can have devastating consequences for those involved. This can often be attributable to a lack of operator education or background in boating safety. During our more than 200 years of combined practice, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Schwed, Adams & McGinley have represented numerous victims of boating accidents in Florida, including those in which a boat operator’s lack of boater safety education played a part. If you, a family member or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation today.