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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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June 1, 2023

Suggested Tweet: Boaters reminded to wear a life jacket and have 360-degree awareness! Fewer
accidents, more fatalities – 2022 Boating Accident Statistical Report released by @MyFWC: #Florida. #boating 

FWC releases 2022 Boating Accident Statistical Report 

Following a successful National Safe Boating Week and a Memorial Day weekend with zero boating
fatalities, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has released the 2022 Boating
Accident Statistical Report. 

“We had fewer boating accidents in Florida in 2022 than we did in 2021 but fatalities statewide were up,”
said Lt. Col. Brian Smith, Acting Director for the FWC Division of Law Enforcement. “I am proud
of the effort our officers and boating and waterways staff put into getting boating safety messaging out
to the public throughout the year and my hope is we will see both of these statistics decrease next year.” 

Florida had 735 boating accidents in 2022, 16 fewer than in 2021. A total of 65 people lost their lives in
these accidents, five more than the previous year. Since 2003, falls overboard has been the leading type
of fatal accident, with drowning as the leading cause of death. Of the drowning victims, 81% were not
wearing a life jacket. Today’s boaters can choose from several models of light and comfortable, inflatable
belt-pack or over-the-shoulder life jackets. For more information about life jackets, visit: and select “Safety-Education” then “Wear-It-Florida.” 

“Accidents happen quickly and unexpectedly, and boaters might not have time to grab their life jacket
before finding themselves in the water,” said Lt. Nicholas Korade, FWC Boating and Waterways
Section. “The message is clear, ‘Life Jackets Save Lives.’” 

The primary causes of all reported boating accidents (almost half, at 43%) were improper lookout
or attention and operator inexperience. All vessel operators are responsible for always keeping
360-degree awareness since dangers are not always located ahead. Operator inexperience can be
attributed to the operator’s limited time or experience with the vessel, the area or the weather. 

Lack of boater education was also a contributing factor in accidents.

“The number of Boating Safety Education Cards issued in 2022 has tripled since 2010, but 45
of the operators involved in fatal accidents and 515 of the 926 operators in reportable accidents
did not have formal boating education,” said Korade. “The FWC encourages all boaters, regardless
of age or experience, to take a boating safety course for the safety of themselves and everyone on
the water with them.” 

Florida is recognized as “The Boating Capital of the World” and leads the nation with over 1 million
registered vessels across the state in 2022. The FWC is responsible for reviewing, analyzing and
compiling boating accident data for the state. Its statistical report details boating accidents and
their causes. 

For a copy of the 2022 Boating Accident Statistical Report visit and select
“Boater Education” then “Boating Accident Statistical Reports.”

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Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission · 620 S. Meridian Street · Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
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