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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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May 17, 2024

Suggested Post: Annual #NationalSafeBoating Week kicks off May 18. @MyFWC reminds boaters to
boat safely. #Boating #Florida

FWC reminds boaters National Safe Boating Week is May 18-24 

National Safe Boating Week kicks off the summer boating season as an annual reminder for boaters
to prioritize safety while enjoying recreational activities on Florida’s beautiful waterways. Florida is
recognized as “The Boating Capital of the World” and leads the nation with over 1 million registered
vessels across the state. With so many boats on the state’s waterways, Florida is a leader in promoting
boating accident prevention.   

“Florida waterways are a destination for boating activities by residents and visitors, and those activities
increase as we enter the summer months, unfortunately so do the accidents,” said Maj. Bill Holcomb,
FWC Boating and Waterways Section Leader.   “FWC officers respond to far too many tragic boat-
ing accidents that could have been prevented by following a few simple boating safety guidelines.” 

There were 659 reportable boating accidents in 2023 and almost 30% of those accidents were caused
by a collision with a fixed object. The primary causes for these accidents were improper lookout and
operator inexperience. To reduce the number of boating accidents, the FWC encourages boaters to
pay attention, maintain 360-degree awareness at all times and take a boater safety course. Over 80%
of operators involved in fatal boating accidents in 2023 had no formal boater education. For a sum
mary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, visit:

“The facts are clear,” said Holcomb. “An educated boater is a safer boater and, honestly, everyone
can benefit from taking a boating safety course, it makes for a safer and more enjoyable experience
for everyone on board.” 

Among other tips found at, boaters are encouraged to find and wear a comfortable
U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times while on the water. According to 2023 FWC boating
accident statistics, approximately 50% of the boating deaths were due to drowning. Events can cause
a boater to end up in the water unexpectedly, and a person will not have time to grab their life jacket
before they find themselves in the water.        

Boaters should also educate themselves on the dangers of impaired boating. Alcohol and drugs can
impair a boater’s judgement, reaction time and overall ability to operate a boat safely. 

“Boating while impaired by alcohol or drugs is not only dangerous but illegal,” said Holcomb. “FWC
officers are always on the lookout for impaired operators and these operators will face arrest if found
to be operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” 

To report people who are operating boats dangerously, call 888-404-FWCC or text 847411 (Tip411)
with keyword “FWC” and information about the violation.

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QUESTIONS? Contact the FWC
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission ·
620 S. Meridian Street ·
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600 ·

(850) 488-4676 GovDelivery logo
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