On Wednesday, May 16, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released its much awaited annual report of boating accidents for the prior year.

Data compiled from 2017 shows that the percentage of boating accidents that year increased by 14 over the previous year. Those incidents resulted in 67 boaters’ deaths, the same number of people who lost their lives in 2017. There were 261 total collisions.

The report’s authors note that Florida leads all states when it comes to both boating incidents and deaths.

Data shows that 38 percent of all the accidents that occurred in 2017 could be blamed on either the boat’s operator not maintaining proper lookout or being inattentive.

The researchers noted, however, that boaters falling overboard has remained steady as the No. 1 reason for fatal boat accidents since 2003 in the state. The top cause of boater deaths during this time frame has been drowning.

It’s not yet clear what state officials intend to do in light of these increases in boating accidents and deaths. While it’s likely that they will step up patrol to encourage many to follow good boating etiquette and laws, it’s unclear what impact that will have. What is clear, though, is that something needs to be done or otherwise we’ll likely hear of even more people getting hurt or losing their lives out on the water next year.

If you’ve been hurt while out on the water in your boat due to another boater’s negligence, then a Gulf Breeze attorney may advise you of your right to file an injury lawsuit in your accident case.

Source: Fire Engineering, “Boating accidents in Florida rose nearly 14 percent in 2017,” May 17, 2018