Laura C. Morel –
Florida has done it again.
The state leads the country once more in the number of boating accidents and fatalities, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The numbers were released in a wildlife commission report looking at 2011 accidents earlier this week. According to the report, there were 742 boating accidents last year that caused 67 fatalities.
But although the state leads the country in boating accidents, the numbers are not surprising to boating officials. In Florida, boating is a year-round activity.
The state is also home to the most registered boats in the country, totaling nearly 1 million vessels, and the commission estimates there may be another 1 million nonregistered boats.
“There’s a lot of factors that play into it,” said Rusty Gardner, president of FloridaByWater.com, a website that lists destinations reachable by boat.
“Just to say that Florida has the most boating accidents is kind of a bad rap.”
According to the report, most boating accidents were caused when boaters crashed into other boats or items, and the leading cause of death was drowning.
The number of accidents also increased from 668 in 2010, but the total of registered boats declined by about 20,000.