Boating Accidents at Key West Boating Championship Illustrates State’s Waterway Dangers

Three people have died and two others were injured in Florida boating accidents during the recent Key West Super Boat World Championships. This past weekend proved to be offshore powerboat racing’s deadliest week.

The most recent accident happened as world championships in 12 boating classes were being decided. Tributes were being paid to the three boaters who died earlier in the competition, according to The Miami Herald.

Most of us do not engage in boat racing. But the beginning of the winter season is an important reminder of the need to stay safe on the water. Our West Palm Beach boat accident attorneys understand that Florida witnessed the most fatal accidents in the United States in 2010. Florida’s weather attracts people to the water all year round. Without formal boating education and without the proper safety measures, boating accidents occur all too often of our shores.

“It was tough for all of us, really, to get in the boats. But at the end of the day, I think as a group everybody felt that’s what they would have wanted, was for us to go race,” said Team CRC’s throttleman Mike DeFrees.

The last accident happened when the 46-foot catamaran with four 1,200-horsepower engines leaped into the air after hitting a wave, flipped and slammed upside down in the water.

The previous fatal accident happened when the 28-foot Skater with twin 850-horsepower engines took a turn too quickly. The occupants of the boat rolled and both were killed. They died at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

“I’m always up for more safety improvements,” said Superboat Unlimited class winner Randy Scism. “We need to look at it (the accidents) and learn from them.”

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were nearly 942,000 registered vessels in the state in 2010. Florida ranked number one again for having the most registrations. Officials believe that there are another million vessels on our waters that are not registered.

In 2010, there were nearly 700 boating accidents reported in our state. Out of these accidents, nearly 80 fatalities were reported and another 390 injuries. The number one cause of death in boating accidents was drowning, accounting for more than 60 percent of fatalities. About 80 percent of fatality victims were male.

Even though there are about 942,000 registered vessels in the state, fewer than 22,500 Boating Safety Education IDs were issued in 2010.

Florida’s most dangerous counties for boating accidents in 2010:

1.) Monroe

2.) Miami-Date

3.) Palm Beach

4.) Pinellas

5.) Lee

6.) Broward

7.) Brevard

8.) Bay

9.) Collier

10.) Okaloosa

Of the 2010 boating fatalities, about 90 percent were experienced by Florida residents. About 90 percent of the victims were male. We ask boaters to be cautious on our waterways. As tourists and seasonal residents flock to our shores, congestion is sure to increase on the water. Keep safety as a top priority and consider taking a formal boating course to freshen up your skills.