Most boating accidents in Florida, or anywhere else, are caused by negligence on the part of the boat’s operator. Speeding, distractions on the water and impaired judgment while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs are common causes. Often, the operator does not notice or react quickly enough to avoid a collision.
Types of collisions
Boats are most likely to collide with other boats, ships, buoys, walls or other objects on Florida’s waters. Most collisions occur while cruising when the operator is not 100% attentive to the surroundings.
Injuries and deaths
The severest injuries include lacerations, losses of limbs, bone fractures and blows to the head. The results are often catastrophic injuries that cause long-term or lifelong problems, such as amputations, paralysis or scarring.
Fatalities occur during moments of sudden impact when one boat collides with another. Some deaths occur due to severe infections, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries or other health conditions that are irrecoverable. In 2020, the FWC released a total count of 79 deaths from hundreds of boating accidents and injuries.
There were 113 more accidents that occurred that year than in 2019. Florida had the highest number of fatalities than a handful of other coastal states, including Texas and California.
Each year, the Coast Guard reports on the total number of boating accidents by state. Additional information includes the main causes of boating accidents. In Florida, the number-one cause is the collision of one boat with another. Each year, hundreds of accidents and injuries are reported with many injuries being severe and catastrophic. In addition, the state has the highest number of boating-related fatalities.