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What is the Leading Cause of Fatal Boat Accidents?


Boating is a very fun activity, but it can also be extremely dangerous. Even a seemingly minor boat crash can result in some of the most serious injuries and even death. This is largely due to the nature of boat accidents. Drowning, electrocutions, and traumatic brain injuries are just some of the most common injuries sustained in boat crashes. Below, our Florida boat crash lawyer explores statistics on fatal boating accidents in the state, and the leading cause of fatality.

2022 Florida Fatal Boating Accident Statistics 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has released statistics regarding fatal boat crashes in Florida in 2022. Some of the most alarming stats are as follows:

  • There were a total of 64 fatal accidents, resulting in 65 deaths.
  • 27 percent of fatal boat accidents (17 crashes in total) resulted from people falling overboard.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of death in fatal boat crashes in the state, accounting for 64 percent of fatalities, or 38 total deaths.
  • Twelve fatalities occurred in May of 2022, making it the month with the highest boat crash fatalities.
  • Boat operator impairment was involved in 13 percent of all fatal boat crashes.
  • Males suffered the most fatalities, accounting for 85 percent, or 50, total deaths.
  • Seventy-one percent, or 66 operators in total, were 36 years of age or older.
  • Seventy-one percent, or 45 in total, vessels were 21 feet in length or shorter.

What Causes Most Fatal Boating Accidents?

 Fatal boating accidents have many different causes but there are two factors that play bigger roles than any other. The majority of fatal boating accidents in Florida are caused by negligence and recklessness. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), 44 percent of the total 402 boat crashes were due to operators who failed to pay attention or maintain a proper lookout. The U.S. Coast Guard has also reported that operator inexperience, inattention, and improper lookout were in the top five causes of fatal boating accidents.

Negligence and recklessness sound very similar, but there are differences between the two. Negligence refers to an unintentional act that causes a boating accident. For example, failing to maintain a proper lookout is negligent because the boat operator may not have intended to be careless. Recklessness, on the other hand, is an intentional act. For instance, if a boat operator chose to consume alcohol while operating their vessel and became impaired, that would be considered recklessness.

Our Boat Crash Lawyer in Florida Can Help After a Fatality 

Losing someone you love is never easy. It is often even more frustrating after an activity that was meant to bring only fun in the sun turns tragic. At 888-BOAT-LAW (The Law Offices of Frank D. Butler, P.A.), our Florida boat crash lawyer understands this and is dedicated to helping families obtain the full and fair compensation they are rightfully entitled to. If you have lost someone, call us today or chat with us online to schedule a consultation and to get the legal help you need.


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