Each year, hundreds of people are involved in boating accidents in Florida.
Most of mishaps occur in 10 counties, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with Monroe County and Miami-Dade County leading the way.
Many of the same factors that cause motor vehicle crashes also contribute to boating disasters. Some of the common causes are carelessness, inattention, machinery malfunction, operator inexperience, hazardous waters and bad weather.
Top 10 Florida Counties for Boating Accidents
In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 59 percent of Florida boating accidents happened in the following counties:
- Monroe County. 93 accidents (5 fatal, 43 with injury)
- Miami-Dade County. 75 accidents (3 fatal, 28 with injury)
- Palm Beach County. 58 accidents (2 fatal, 25 with injury)
- Broward County. 41 accidents (5 fatal, 9 with injury)
- Lee County. 38 accidents (1 fatal, 11 with injury)
- Pinellas County. 36 accidents (3 fatal, 13 with injury)
- Collier County. 34 accidents (2 fatal, 17 with injury)
- Brevard County. 25 accidents (3 fatal, 8 with injury)
- Hillsborough County. 20 accidents (6 fatal, 8 with injury)
- Martin County. 20 accidents (1 fatal, 7 with injury)
Many of these accidents happened when the boat collided with a fixed object, either above the surface or underwater. Some were collisions with other vessels.
A significant number of injuries occurred because the boat capsized, caught on fire, exploded or ran aground. Other times, the boat operator or a passenger fell overboard.
The FWCC Division of Law Enforcement, Boating and Waterways Section maintains a website that has a map showing where Florida boating deaths and injuries have occurred. The site also includes information on the type of boat involved, the reason for the accident and the extent of injuries.
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission http://myfwc.com/media/2233361/2011-Top10Counties.pdf