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Florida Leads the Country in Fatal Boating Accidents

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on May 15, 2013

According to the most recent data available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 2011 was an especially deadly year for Florida boating accidents, with 67 people fatally injured and hundreds more requiring hospitalization. Our state leads the country every year in total number of boating accidents and people injured and killed in these accidents.

James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury attorneys cite several reasons for this unfortunate distinction, including these:

  • Lax regulations on safety equipment and enforcement
  • A lack of boating safety education for boat owners
  • Over one million registered houseboats, sailboats, powerboats and other watercraft, the most registered vessels in the country
  • Nearly 8,000 miles of coastline, 1,700 miles of rivers, 2,000 marinas and three million acres of lakes

Numerous measures have been proposed in recent years to improve boating safety by making formal boating safety training mandatory for boat owners. However, state lawmakers have voted down these measures again and again after intense pressure from the state’s $10.3 billion boating industry.

Pamela Dillon, education director for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, recently told reporters that the Florida Legislature remains the biggest impediment to boating safety in our state.

“Unfortunately, more innocent boaters will continue to lose their lives and their grieving family members will continue to ask, ‘Why?’ Our elected representatives are the only ones who can answer that question.”

According to a 2011 U.S. Coast Guard survey, around 2.5 million Florida households have at least one avid boater, and that number is rising every year. Sadly, increased popularity of boating in recent years has also led to increased rates of boating accidents, deaths and injuries. The 67 boaters killed in 2011 was a 24 percent increase from 2008, when 54 boaters were killed. Injuries rose 12 percent for the period, from 386 injured in 2008 to 431 in 2001.

Mr. Cunningham and other Orlando boating accident lawyers know that boating accidents occur for many different reasons such as inexperienced operators, failure to observe speed limits and no wake zones, drunken boating and other acts of negligence. If you have been injured by a negligent boater and would like to speak with Mr. Cunningham to learn more about the law, your rights and your legal options, call him today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) to schedule your free consultation. Mr. Cunningham would also like to remind readers that the busiest part of Florida’s boating season is about to begin. If you are a boat operator, please help make our state’s waterways safer by enrolling in a boating safety course, and always refrain from using alcohol and drugs while operating your boat.

James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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