According to the United States Coast Guard, alcohol is involved in the majority of boating accidents. In fact, boat drivers in Florida who have too much to drink are often linked to a fatal accident on the water. More than half of all accidents are alcohol-involved. One explanation for this is that effects of alcohol are usually exaggerated while on a boat because of the following reasons:
- The rocking waves
- The motion of the boat
- A hot sun and temperatures that can lead to quicker dehydration
The Coast Guard notes a frightening statistic: When people have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 or more and are driving a boat, they are 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
Another reason preventable deaths happen on Florida waters is because of a lack of protection. Florida laws mandate that every recreational watercraft have Coast Guard-approved life jackets to fit every person on board. While adults are not required to wear them at all times, children who are younger than 6 are.
Speeding and reckless driving are two other factors that can lead to an incident. The Florida Wildlife Commission reports that in 2013, 62 people died as the result of a fatal boating accident. What’s more, there were 736 incidents on the water, which amounts to more than two accidents every day.
Simply knowing the leading causes and laws can help keep people safe while enjoying the water. Operators who fail to take the proper precautions or act irresponsibly are not only risking their own lives but also the lives of others onboard or nearby.