Top 3 Causes of Boat Accidents in Florida

According to studies done by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida has more boat-related fatalities and injuries than any other state in the nation. If you are involved in a boat accident, you can contact one of our boat accident lawyers to get help quickly, but it better to learn how to prevent having an accident.

You can reduce your chance of being involved in a boating accident by knowing what the most common causes are and how to avoid them. Don’t forget to share this information with your friends and family so they can also reduce their chance of being involved in a boating accident.

Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents

The top 3 reasons given by investigating authorities for boat accidents in Florida for 2013 were:

  1. Failure of one operator to maintain a proper lookout for other vessels
  2. Excessive speed
  3. Operator inexperience.

Most accidents are caused by vessel-to-vessel collisions and occur near land, where boat traffic is generally greater. The FWC study noted that in 53% of these accidents, the operator of at least one vessel had received no boater education and 15% involved drugs or alcohol.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that most boating accidents were caused by people not exercising the care they should when operating a vessel. In addition, personal flotation devices (PFDs) were not worn in 68% of accidents that resulted in injury or death.

How to Avoid Causing A Boating Accident

Dangers to life and limb are always present on the water and are often underestimated. If you are an owner/operator, please avail yourself of the numerous boater education courses offered by various agencies in and around Florida. We recommend the boater safety education courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxilliary. A list of these courses can be accessed at

If you were born after January 1, 1988, you must take an approved boater safety class and have a FWC Boater Safety Education Card prior to operating a vessel. A list of these courses are located at When on the water, make sure to be careful when operating a boat near other boaters, and always wear an approved PFD.

No matter what safety precautions you take, however, you can never control the actions of other boaters on the water. Many boaters act irresponsibly, are intoxicated, or have not received proper training prior to getting behind the wheel.


If you or a loved one is injured as a result of the negligence of another boater, please feel free to contact a Michles & Booth boat accident lawyer anytime to discuss how to proceed forward. You can reach us by calling (800) 848-6168.


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