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How Often is Alcohol Involved in Florida Boat Accidents

How Often is Alcohol Involved in Florida Boat Accidents?

Florida’s warm climate, access to the ocean, and ample amount of lakes make it a perfect state for boaters. Throughout the year any boat enthusiast can rent a vessel or take out their own boat and enjoy a day on the water. Like driving, operating a boat takes attention and care. The amount of destruction and harm that can happen after a boating accident in Florida can be significant. Similar to car accidents in Florida, boating accidents have the potential to inflict serious, debilitating injuries, extensive property damages, and death.

Considering the 2020 Summary Boating Accident Review released by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that there were 985,005 boats registered in the state, boating accidents are a very real and grave concern for Floridians. In fact, Florida has the most registered boats of any state in the nation and the number of boats that the state leads by is substantial. If a negligent boater caused a boating accident and you were injured as a result, it is imperative that you get the most skilled and competent legal counsel on your side. Working with the Jacksonville boat accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates, you can be sure that you will have the most aggressive and sharp legal representation fighting to protect your rights and secure maximum recovery from your Florida personal injury claim.

How Common are Boat Accidents in Florida?

How Often is Alcohol Involved in Florida Boat AccidentsBased on the 2020 summary by the FFWCC, there were 836 boating accidents that were reportable. The breakdown of these incidents was:

  • Crashes with other vessels – 27%
  • Towed watersport activities – 23 accidents, 9 deaths, and 37 people injured
  • Human-powered crafts – 14 accidents, 14 deaths, 1 person injured
  • There were 120 accidents reported in May making it the month with the most reportable incidents in the state.
  • There were 99 boating accidents in Monroe County which was the highest number of accidents reported from any county. There were nine deaths and 52 people were injured.
  • There was 77 fatal boating accidents total that took the lives of 79 people.
  • The leading cause of death in boating accidents in Florida was from fall-over incidents. Of all the fatal accidents, 36 of them or 46% were due to falling over the boat.
  • Drowning was the leading cause of death and there were 42 people who drowned to death.
  • There were 10 fatalities in March alone, making it the most deadly month for boating accidents.
  • Of all the reportable boating incidents in Florida in 2020, the rate was 54 per 100,000 registered watercraft.
  • The majority, 76% of deaths were male, and there was a total of 91 boat operators that were involved in deadly boating accidents. Of these operators, 60% were 36 years of age and older.

In 2019, Florida had the most reportable boating accidents than any other state in the nation with 679. That year, California was a distant second with 324. From 2015-2019 Florida consistently had the highest number of reportable boating accidents according to the data from the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxillary and Boating Safety. Florida also had, by far, the most fatal accidents from 2015-2019 and the highest number of people dying from these incidents.

How Prevalent was Alcohol Use Involved with Florida Boating Accidents?

The use of drugs or alcohol with respect to the reportable boating accidents in Florida made up 23% of the fatal incidents. When the primary cause of a deadly boating accident is known, alcohol is the leading contributing factor for all of these accidents across the country.  Florida’s problem with alcohol and fatal boating accidents is on par with the country, as the U.S. Coast Guard reports that approximately 23% of all fatal boating accidents in the U.S. had alcohol involved. 

Every state has rules and regulations for alcohol and operating a boat. The federal law for alcohol consumption and operating a boat is that an operator cannot have a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% g/dL or more. If a boating accident happens and the operator is determined to be over the legal limit that operator could face penalties including:

  • Loss of boating license.
  • Suspension of boating license.
  • Time spent behind bars.
  • Seizure of the boat.
  • Restitution to victims.
  • Expensive fines.

Also, it isn’t just the amount of alcohol that is in a boat operator’s system that can lead to legal issues. If the operator is not of legal drinking age, this too can be cause for legal action. The state of Florida does not tolerate underage drinking. So individuals that are not 21 years or older that have alcohol in their system, even if they are under the legal limit, will be subject to harsh penalties and consequences.

Boating while under the influence is incredibly dangerous and it is reckless. The risk for a boating accident in Jacksonville increases when there is alcohol present in a person’s system. It is much harder to make sound judgments when you are inebriated, your reaction time is lessened, your ability to see clearly is diminished, and your competency to operate your boat is reduced.

Speak to a Jacksonville Boat Accident Lawyer Today

The boat accident injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates will work with you and support you by providing you with the legal guidance you need to get the maximum amount of compensation possible from your Jacksonville boat accident injury claim. If you lost a loved one because of the careless actions of another party on the water, then you will need to be compensated for funeral services, expenses associated with burial, and all other related end-of-life costs that have impacted your family. When alcohol was a contributing factor to your boat accident, you have the right to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions that put you in harm’s way.

 During a free consultation, you can meet and speak with one of Sheftall Law’s Jacksonville personal injury attorneys. To schedule your free consultation, please call Sheftall Law today at ‌(904)‌ ‌638-7712.