According to the MiamiHerald.com, an annual report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has placed Monroe County (Florida Keys) as the number one most dangerous county for boating in Florida, with 93 accidents.
Alarming Increase In Boating Accidents
The report shows an alarming 20 percent increase in “reportable” boating accidents. The standard for a boating accident to be reportable is that it must involve a death, a serious injury or more than $2,000.00 in damages. Curiously, despite a decrease in the number of registered boats, the state saw an increase from 668 reportable accidents in 2010 to 742 reportable accidents in 2011. However, the number of deaths resulting from these accidents went down from 79 deaths in 2010 to 67 deaths in 2011.
The Keys saw five boating deaths and 43 injuries in the year 2011. Following Monroe County, Miami Dade County was the second county with more accidents at 75. Of those, three were fatal accidents and 28 were accidents in which people suffered injuries. It is significant to note that the boating accidents in Miami Dade cost $16 million in damages, while those in the Florida Keys cost $1.2 million in damages.
The other counties with significant numbers of boating accidents were: Palm Beach with 58, Broward with 41, Lee with 41, Pinellas with 36 and Collier with 34. Although boaters only suffered 20 significant accidents in Hillsborough County, they had the highest number of boating and watercraft related deaths at seven. Broward County had the same number of boating deaths as matched Monroe County: six.
According to the report the most common fatal boating accident was falling overboard, with drowning being listed as the cause of death in two-thirds of the cases. Boats or other watercraft hitting other boats or stationary objects was a very common kind of accident, happening in 313 of the 742 cases.
Careless Operation and Other Causes
The report cites careless operation as the most common cause (156 cases) of boating accidents. Also cited were mechanical failure, operator inattention, operator inexperience, bad weather and speeding. The most dangerous time of the day: the hours between 2 and 6 p.m.
I remember mentioning the jet ski accident in which Sean Kingston, a Miami native Hip Hop star suffered serious injuries, in one of our posts last year. Unfortunately, accidents like this happen every year in Florida waters. Sometimes, the watercraft operator is at fault. In other cases, the watercraft suffers mechanical failure or fails in some way to perform as it should, therefore causing the accident. Often, operators are not trained on how to safely operate their jet ski. Such seems to have been the case with Mr. Kingston, according to a police report released after their investigation into the causes of the accident.
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