Florida boat accident attorney Joseph Lipsky is surprised that a recent report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the number of boating related wrongful deaths actually declined nearly 25% last year, from 73 in 2014, to 55 in 2015. Predictably, more deadly boat accident happened in Broward County and the Florida Keys than anywhere else in Florida last year. Not to be left out, Miami Dade had the honor of having the greatest number of so-called reportable boating accidents, those involving personal injury and/or property damage more than $2,000.00, in 2015.
With the size of Biscayne Bay and frequent boating off shore of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade had 96 boating accidents in 2015, which resulted in nearly $3 million in property damage and unfortunately with three wrongful deaths and seventy four personal injuries. The Florida Keys, comprising of both Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, accounted for 78 accidents, resulting in 5 wrongful deaths and nearly 50 injuries. The 57 boating accidents in Broward County during 2015, resulted in five deaths and over 40 injuries.
According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, about one half of all boat accidents were caused by operators failing to maintain a proper lookout and being distracted, just like the careless actions of distracted car drivers.
While the number of deaths dropped, serious boating accidents actually rose by more than 100 from 2014 to 2015, to a total of 737. This increase is not unexpected as there are more registered boats in Florida, over 900,000, than any other state. Of course, that number does not take into account the estimated nearly 1,000,000 unregistered watercrafts.
Considering drowning played a role in over half of Florida’s boating deaths, Key West boat accident attorney Joseph Lipsky reminds all boaters, no matter how experienced, that life jackets save lives, so make sure your watercraft is supplied with at least one such flotation device for each vessel occupant.