Florida Boating Statistics: Florida Leads the Nation

The heartbreaking story of the death of famed baseball player José Fernandez made front page news around the country.  Investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that Fernandez, a Cuban immigrant and hero in the South Florida community, was killed in a boat crash along with two other passengers when the boat slammed into a rock jetty.  When the story came to light, it brought more attention to Florida boating, boating accidents, and boating under the influence.

Florida Boating Statistics Lead the Nation

Florida has the largest number of boats of any state, with over 900,000 registered recreational vessels.  Florida also has an estimated 1,000,000 unregistered canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.  Though Florida has over 7 percent of all the registered recreational boats in the country, Florida has more than its share of boating injuries and fatalities, with 11.5% of the nation’s national boating fatalities, according to 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard.

South Florida Counties in the Lead

South Florida leads the state in boating accidents.  According to the Boating Accidents Statistical Report for 2016, the Florida counties with the highest number of boating accidents were the following in order:[1]

  1. Monroe
  2. Miami-Dade
  3. Palm Beach
  4. Pinellas
  5. Lee
  6. Broward

What Causes Boating Accidents

The most common problems that lead to boating accidents are capsizing, collisions, flooding/swamping the boat, grounding the boat, and ejection from a boat.  While alcohol is a contributing factor in many boating accidents throughout the United States, alcohol is the primary contributing factor in twice as many accidents in Florida as compared to any other state.[2]  With the warm weather and summer vacations, July is the month with the highest number of boat accidents, injuries, and deaths[3].

The U.S. Coast Guard works to improve boating safety in the U.S. through targeted campaigns and patrols.  The U.S. Coast Guard strongly discourages drinking and boating through the Operation Dry Water campaign.  For more details, click here.  The organization also promotes boater responsibility and the use of life jackets through the Wear It! campaign.  Click here for information.

We urge you to follow these important safety tips when you’re on the water:

  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Take a boater safety course such as the Florida Boater Safety Course found here
  • Conduct a boat safety check before boating
  • Avoid alcohol and other substances that impair your ability to operate a boat

With miles of blue ocean waters and freshwater lakes, South Florida is ideal for boating.  When out on the water, keep in mind these Florida boating accident statistics and follow the tips above to stay safe!

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.


[1] 2016 Reportable Boating Accidents

[2] 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard.

[3] 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard.

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