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Recreational Boating Deaths, a Serious Problem in Florida

Boating has become a very popular pastime thanks to the many waterways that make up our great state. However, although recreational boating is an activity that can be shared with the whole family, one should continue to keep in mind the fact that there is no certainty when it comes to water, as accidents can and will occur if one is not careful.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) over the past 10 years, more than 7,000 boaters have died while on the water. Of this amount, 5,000 have died as a direct result of drowning. In addition, in one year alone 70 percent of all fatal boating accidents occurred as a direct result from the victims drowning, and of this amount, an estimated 84 percent were reported to not be wearing life jackets. Moreover, the NTSB also estimates that, within the same year, 90 percent of the fatalities that occurred via recreational boating, the boating operator did not receive proper boating safety instruction, or did not receive boating safety instruction at all. Finally, the NTSB reports that 8 out of every 10 individuals who drowned during recreational boating accidents were in motorboats that were less than 21 feet in length. What can be done to prevent boat accidents? After reading this startling information, perhaps the most pressing consideration is what the states should do in order to make recreational boating a safer activity and cut back on the unfortunate losses that have been seen. The National Transportation Safety Board has some direction input, including these suggestions: • Establish a state minimum boating safety program that requires children under the age of 13 to wear life jackets. This standard should also require all state recreational boating operators to complete a boating safety education course. • As of January 2013, 48 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have instated strict regulations that require children (of various age minimums / maximums) to wear life jackets. • Eight states currently do not have mandatory boating education safety requirements for all recreational boaters. They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Maine, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

As one can gather from this information, the State of Florida does set a minimum for life jacket usage, as well as boating education considerations. However, it is equally important that, no matter what kind of regulations are present, that one is proactive when engaging in recreational boating. No matter if one is a novice or an advanced boater it is important to ensure that both children and adults wear life jackets, that one enters into a boating safety course and receives proper training, and that proper care is maintained in order to ensure that the boat itself is up to standards in order to avoid potential problems. In doing so, one can help to prevent unfortunate recreational boating deaths in the future. Source: For more safety information see:…/safety-alerts/Documents/SA_007.pdf

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