Florida leads the nation with over 1 million registered vessels across the state and is known as a prime boating spot for residents and visitors. Unfortunately, each year Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers respond to far too many tragic boating accidents that could have been prevented. With National Safe Boating Week and the release of the 2021 Boating Accident Statistical Report, the FWC encourages boaters to focus on effective ways to make boating safer.
“National Safe Boating Week is May 21-27 and, with many people enjoying Florida’s year-round boating season, we encourage boaters to boat safely,” said Maj. Rob Beaton, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Reminding people to be safe and slow down is our top priority. Nothing can ruin an enjoyable and memorable experience on the water faster than a boating accident.”
Among other boating safety tips found at MyFWC.com/Boating, boaters are encouraged to wear their life jackets, maintain 360-degree awareness and know the dangers (and penalties) for operating a vessel while impaired. According to FWC boating accident statistics, over half of all reportable boating accidents in 2021 were due to collisions, with 45% of those collisions attributed to operator inattention or improper lookout.
“All too often, preventable tragedies happen because individuals choose to operate a boat while distracted or impaired,” said Beaton. “FWC law enforcement officers will be doing their part to ensure the safety of Florida’s recreational boaters.”
To report people who are boating dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or text Tip@MyFWC.com. More information can be found by visiting MyFWC.com/Boating. You can even search there for the Florida Public Boat Ramp Finder to help you find a great place to launch your boat.
The FWC is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and their causes. The theme of accident-related messages from FWC staff is clear: Officers want to help keep Florida’s beautiful waterways a safe place to boat.
For a copy of the 2021 Boating Accident Statistical Report, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and select “Safety & Education” and “Boating Accidents.”