Florida hits boating benchmark with 1M registered vessels

Sunshine State averaged more than 700 boating crashes per year from 2011-20

This photo provided by Monroe County Sheriff's Office, a large wooden boat is grounded near Key Largo, Florida, earlier in March 2022. (Monroe County Sheriff's Office via AP) (Uncredited)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Friday that Florida passed the mark of 1 million registered recreational vessels.

The top five counties for vessel registration in Florida are Miami-Dade (74,622), Pinellas (53,867), Lee (50,304), Broward (47,741) and Hillsborough (41,495), FWC said.

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“Crossing the million mark just confirms what we always knew - Florida is the top state for boaters,” said Maj. Rob Beaton, Boating and Waterways section leader, in a news release. “And with more boats on the water, we want to spread the word about boating safety to both residents and visitors enjoying Florida’s year-round boating season.”

From 2011 to 2020, Florida averaged 722 boating accidents per year, according to a FWC report. There were at least 55 deaths per year during that time period and an average of 417 injuries, the report said.

The FWC encourage boaters to wear life jackets, maintain 360-degree awareness and to know the dangers and penalties for operating a vessel while impaired.

“Life-changing tragedies happen because individuals choose to operate a boat while impaired. Those tragedies are preventable,” Beaton said. “As law enforcement, it is our job to do all we can to ensure the safety of all boaters.”

For more information about Florida’s boating regulations, visit the FWC website.

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Gui Leal started with ClickOrlando.com in January 2022.