Boating accidents are a common cause of injury and even death. Florida has the highest number of boating accidents by far–nearly twice as many as California, which has the second highest amount in the country. More concerning still is that boating accidents in Florida are on the rise: 2017 marked an all-time high of such tragedies.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has just released its annual Boating Accident Statistical Report for 2017. The report analyzes the types and causes of boating accidents in the Sunshine State. In this article, we examine the two primary conditions the report highlights, which compromise boater safety:

Lack of vigilance

Inattention at the helm represents the leading cause of accidents in boats. In 2017, of the 766 boating accidents that occurred in Florida, 261 resulted in collisions–and 38 percent of these collisions were the result of the boat operator failing to keep an attentive eye on the conditions at sea.

Lack of life jacket

In 2017, 67 boaters in Florida died in boating tragedies. The number one cause of fatality in such accidents was falling overboard and drowning. 81 percent of these victims were not wearing a life jacket.

While there is a common conception that life jackets can be a bulky nuisance to wear, the FWC underscores the life-saving importance of such equipment. In addition, it points to updated inflatable life jacket designs–worn as a belt pack or over the shoulder–which are more convenient to wear while on the boat and still provide critical safety benefits in the event of an overboard fall.

Even the experienced boater can succumb to tragedy due to unforeseen circumstances at sea. Follow the above safety tips to maximize your chances of a safe, enjoyable boating excursion.