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Boating Accidents Increased in 2017

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently released their boating accident statistics for 2017, and the news was not good. Florida saw an increase in boating accidents, and the number of fatalities remained elevated. Boaters should respond by making safety a priority for the remainder of the year so that 2018 does not continue the dangerous trend of the past few years.

Too Many Accidents

According to FWC, Florida had 766 boating accidents in 2017, an increase on the 714 accidents in 2016. Operator inattention was the leading contributing cause to boating accidents, contributing to 38% of all collisions. Operators should remember to maintain vigilant lookout, just as they would while driving a motor vehicle down I-95.

Florida also saw 67 fatalities in 2017, on par with the number of fatalities in 2016. The month of July led the way with 11 fatalities, with April (8) and May (7) not far behind. However, the months of August and November also had a high number of fatalities, with 5 each.

Almost a quarter of those who died fell overboard. By far, the largest contributing cause to fatalities was failure to wear a life jacket. Over 80% of those who died in boating accidents were not wearing a life vest at the time of the accident, even though around 75% of boating victims could swim.

Even experienced swimmers should wear a life jacket. After a collision, you might be knocked unconscious, so you will need a flotation device to keep your face out of the water until you can be rescued. Although many boaters complain about the inconvenience of life jackets, consumers today have many different styles to choose from, including light-weight inflatable belt packs. There is no reason not to wear a life jacket the next time you head out on the water.

Serious Injuries

2017 also saw 437 injuries reported, with the most common injuries being:

  • Lacerations
  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Fractures
  • Head injury
  • Burns
  • Strain or sprain
  • Back injury
  • Internal injury

Many of these injuries respond well to treatment, but only if the victim gets to the hospital in a timely manner. For example, bruising can heal if you apply an ice pack to the bruise and do not stress or exercise the bruised body part.

Many injuries, however, can develop complications if you do not receive timely treatment. For example, a laceration that is cleaned improperly could become infected, and bones that are not set properly could lead to disability. Burns also might become infected.

Speak with an Experienced Volusia County Boat Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a boating accident, you need to begin thinking about compensation. At Bundza & Rodriguez in Florida, we represent accident victims in boating and other accidents. We can help you identify the party responsible for the accident and make a winning claim for compensation.

Reach out to us today. We offer a free consultation where you can meet with one of our boat accident lawyers. Please call 386-252-5170 or submit an online message.

Resources:

myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2018/may/16/boating-statistics/

myfwc.com/media/4449731/2017injuries.pdf

myfwc.com/media/4449728/2017fatalities.pdf

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