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Boating Accidents in South Bay and Elsewhere a Top Concern for Boating Advocates

There were roughly 4,600 boating accidents in South Bay and elsewhere in 2010, according to Joel Goebel, commander of the St. Lucie Power Squadron. Of these 2010 accidents, more than 670 people died, another 3,155 were injured and there was nearly $40 million in property damage. According to The Palm Beach Post, the St. Lucie Power Squadron is a nonprofit organization that’s sole duty is to help increase the safety of boaters in the area. Ultimately, they hope to eliminate all controllable boating risks. Goebel has been working to achieve this goal since he joined the squadron back in 1976.
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“(The) majority of these accidents happened on boats involving people who hadn’t had any boat training,” said Goebel.

Our South Bay boating accident attorneys understand that the squadron helps to provide education to boaters through the training and expertise of its 135 members. Boating education is one of the primary factors in avoiding a South Florida boating accident. The squadron offers public seminars to help pass on safe boating practices. The members teach boaters about weather, safety equipment, channel and navigation knowledge.

Goebel is currently working as commander to help boaters navigate by using the stars. He says if your boat’s electronics fail, you need to have a backup plan.

As Goebel says, boating education is critical in avoiding potentially fatal boating accidents on the water. In the state of Florida, there were nearly 700 boating accidents reported in 2010, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Of these accidents, there were nearly 80 fatalities. A large number of these fatalities happened as victims fell overboard and drowned. Lots of these fatalities could have been prevented if more boaters wore life jackets. For this reason, Florida Fish and Wildlife continues to increase efforts to reduce these accidents through education and enforcement of wearing life jackets.

Safe boating is a choice. To help boaters to make the right choice, Florida Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), West Marine, Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. and the National Safe Boating Council have all launched statewide safe boating campaigns as a part of a national imperative. Here in the state, we have the “Wear It Florida” campaign that is used to encourage all boaters to wear life jackets whenever they’re on the water. The campaign also teaches boaters about the convenience and ease of relatively unknown inflatable life jackets.

Florida’s 2010 Boating Accident Review:

-There are nearly 941,600 registered vessels.

-There were nearly 700 reported accidents in 2010.

-Nearly 70 percent of the operators who were involved in these accidents had no formal boating education.

-Monroe County had to most number of reported accidents and injuries with more than 75 accidents, 7 deaths and more than 55 injuries.

-The main cause of death is falling overboard and drowning (60 percent). These kinds of accidents are becoming more and more common.

-Nearly 40 percent of all boating fatalities that were recorded as drownings occurred on vessels that were less than 18 ft. in length.

-The most boating fatalities were witnessed in May (13 deaths).

-More than 20 percent of the reported boating fatalities were drug or alcohol-related.

-Nearly 90 percent of the boaters who died during the year were male.

-More than 20 percent of the fatalities involved non-motorized vessels.

The South Florida boating accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in South Bay, Miami, West Palm Beach and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Email us or call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

St. Lucie Power Squadron commander aims to improve boating safety, by Michelle Mundy, The Palm Beach Post News

More Blog Entries:

Operating a Boat Under the Influence Causes a High Risk of Injury or Death in Palm Beach Boating Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, August 17, 2011

Boating accidents often lead to drowning victims in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, May 26, 2011

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