More than 700 boaters die each year in the United States, about 500 of them from drowning. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that about 84 percent of the drowning victims would still be alive if they had worn personal flotation devises (PFDs), or life jackets as they are popularly called, while boating. Most of the drowning victims were in boats shorter than 21 feet, and more than half were in motorboats. Another factor in boating fatalities is alcohol. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that 37 percent of operators involved in fatal boating accidents had consumed alcohol before their accidents.

Safety Tips

  • Use a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) when aboard a recreational boat.
  • Require that all children wear PFDs while boating.
  • Complete a recreational boating safety course approved by the State of Florida.
  • Never mix alcohol with boating.
  • Obey all water safety rules and laws.
  • Check your boat's safety equipment before shoving off.
  • Always check the weather before leaving the dock. Carry a portable weather radio on your craft.
  • Always maintain a proper lookout for obstructions in the water.
  • Always be alert for swimmers and divers.
  • Don't overload your boat.