Lee County has had more fatal boating accidents than any other place in Florida. There were nine boating accident deaths last year. This data is based on the information that has been given by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. There were 766 boating accidents in Florida and 67 boating deaths.
Lee County had 43 boating accidents. Collier county had 31 boating accidents. Lt. Seth Wagner works for FWC Boating and Waterways Section. He stated that operator inattention is one of the leading causes of boating accidents. He also stated that it is important for boat operators to be vigilant at all times.
Two hundred and sixty-one boating accidents in Florida involved a collision. Thirty-eight percent of these accidents were due to boater inattention. Seth stated that people have to keep their safety in mind when they are enjoying the relaxing waters in Florida.
The National Safe Boating Council has hosted National Safe Boating Week since 1958. It takes place from May 19 to 25. Memorial Day 2017 was a sad one for many. A 12-year-old drowned in the Caloosahatchee River after a boating accident. Seven other people were injured in the accident.
Wearing a safety jacket is one of the best things that you can do to keep yourself safe while on the water. Eighty-one percent of the people who were involved in a fatal boating accident were not wearing a life jacket. It is also important for people to avoid using alcohol while they are operating a boat.
Last year in Florida, a 6-year-old and 12-year-old drowned. Neither one of them were wearing a life jacket. Yvonne Pentz is the communication director for the council. She stated that not wearing life jackets is the biggest mistake that a boater can make.
Brian Norris is the FWC public information officer. He stated that your chances of surviving a boating accident will be much greater if you have a life jacket on. He also stated that today’s life jackets are not the same as they were in the past. There are inflatable life jackets. If you hit the water, then your life jacket will automatically inflate.
This means that if you happen to go unconscious, then you will still stay upright. The newer life jackets are more pricey, but they money that you invest will be well worth it. Brian also recommends that you have an emergency position indicating radio beacon, or EPIRD.
The coast guard will receive the signal from the EPIRD. If your exact location can be pinpointed, then it will be much easier for someone to find you. People will not have to spend hours searching for you.
Brian reiterates that most boating accidents can be avoided with the proper education. Seventy percent of people who were involved in a fatal boating accident did not receive any type of boating accident. He stated that people who will boating this Memorial Day will need to slow down, pay attention and avoid using alcohol.