The state of Florida has more registered boats than any other state in the country, docking over 918,000 vessels in its waters. And in Fort Lauderdale, with its waterways lined with docks and marinas, there couldn't be a more fitting activity than boating. Whether you're a local cruising the breezy bay, or a tourist checking out the skyline from the sea, it's safe to say that Fort Lauderdale is one of Florida's hottest cities for boating.
However, it's not always smooth sailing. Where Florida reigns supreme for boat registry, it also leads with the most total number of boating accidents – by a landslide. Over 700 accidents took place in Florida in 2017, and the waterways of Fort Lauderdale proved to be a deadly trap for many. For the latest in boating accident statistics in Fort Lauderdale, keep reading.
Boat Accident Statistics in Fort Lauderdale
Known for sunshine, saltwater, and some of the biggest yachts in the country, it's no surprise that Fort Lauderdale is home to more boats than most U.S. cities. Likewise, it's not news that some of the deadliest boat accidents also occur on Fort Lauderdale's waters.
In 2019, 723 total accidents took place in Florida, with 54 proving to be fatal. This is a large leap from previous 2018 , which saw 628 boating accidents. Broward County, where Fort Lauderdale is the county seat, currently ranks as the sixth worst Florida county for boating accidents. In 2019, 30 accidents were reported in Broward County, a steep decrease from 100 accidents just 3 years earlier. Approximately 7 of these accidents occurred in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Many different types of vessels roam these waterways, but when it came to accidents, tragedy seemed to strike a select few more than others. According to the 2019 Boating Accidents Statistical Report, a majority of accidents involved vessels 27-40 feet in length and those 41-65 feet in length. Types of vessels involved included:
- Cabin motorboat (29)
- Personal watercraft (10)
- Open motorboat (9)
- Other (2)
- Airboat (1)
Why Are Boating Accidents Dangerous?
While a day on the sea can be both relaxing and invigorating, especially for those of us often landlocked in offices or at home, boating can also be incredibly dangerous. Especially in Florida, where those manning the boat often lack experience or familiarity with the waters, boating can quickly take a deadly turn.
Boating accidents often happen with the speed and unexpectedness of auto accidents. Just like with an automobile, a boat driver should obey all maritime rules, including the speed limit, have adequate experience and licensing, and be alert and sober. A boat driver should also mind the weather and water conditions. This means a driver must take into account the vessels, docks, or marine structures surrounding him or her before charting their journey through the water. When this fails to happen, a crash can have lethal consequences.
In Broward County, there were three primary types of vessel accidents:
- Collision with a vessel
- Collision with a fixed object
- Flooding or swamping
Primary cause of theses accidents varied, but a bulk of accidents were attributed to four main factors:
- No proper look-out/inattention
- Machinery failure
- Excessive speed
- Operator inexperience
Staying Safe in Fort Lauderdale
Boating accidents can lead to severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, broken bones, sprain and strains, cuts, lacerations, and more. In some cases, boating accidents can result in death. In fact, the state of Florida has 11.5% of the nation's boating fatalities. If you choose to embark onto Florida's waterways, there are several boating safety tips to bear in mind:
- Conduct a boat safety check before leaving the dock.
- Always wear a life jacket, and encourage passengers to do the same.
- Take a boater safety course, such as the Florida Boater Safety Course.
- Avoid alcohol and other substances that impair your ability to operate the boat.
- Obey maritime law, including signalling your direction to other boaters and maintaining the appropriate speed limit.
Seeking Compensation for Boating Injuries
We understand that for some, these boat safety tips may come a little too late. In 2017 alone, $8,327,262 worth of damage was caused by Florida boating accidents. For many injured in these accidents, medical bills have begun to mount into the thousands. If you've recently been involved in a boating accident, there's still a chance to fight for your rights.
Whether you were involved in a crash with a personal watercraft or large boat, Fort Lauderdale boat accident lawyer Justin Weinstein can help determine who should be held liable for your losses. Fill out our contact form or call 888.626.1108 to schedule a consultation for your boating collision claim.