A report from the U.S. Coast Guard shows that boating accidents and deaths in relation to boating accidents are on the rise. This is a particularly serious problem here in Florida, as our state leads the nation in boating accidents. In 2014, there were 581 boating accidents in the state of Florida. Just two years later, in 2016, that number skyrocketed to 684 boating accidents.

Across the nation, boating accidents have increased 7.3 percent from 2015 to 2016. In addition, boating deaths have increased 12 percent over the same time period.

So what is the driving force behind this alarming rise in boating accidents? Well, it isn’t just one factor. There are numerous reasons for the increase.

The first is that many boaters aren’t able to read the weather well when they are out on the sea. In the state of Florida, that can be deadly. The weather can change very quickly. A nice day can become a stormy one in the matter of 30 minutes. Extremes like this contribute to the rise in boating accidents.

Another factor is drugs and alcohol. When you go out on your boat, you should not consume alcohol or use drugs. This makes you culpable in any boating accident.

Third and finally, many people fail to wear life preservers when they are on a boat. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 83 percent of boat accident victims who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.

Source: WFTS, “Despite warnings, Florida leads nation in boating accidents,” Adam Winer, June 12, 2017