Top 10 states for boat and other watercraft accidents & thefts

Investigators inspect an overturned boat as it rests on a jetty after a crash off Miami Beach, Fla., on Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas, File) A day on the water can be full of adventure, bonding with family and friends and just plain fun. Far too often, however, recreational watercraft outings turn tragic. Insurance coverage is a smart idea to protect boats against physical damage from accidents, as well as theft. Make sure your insurance clients are covered for all their boating adventures. Recreational boating continues to grow in popularity and risk. In 2015, there were 11.9 million registered recreational watercraft in the United States, up from 11.8 million in 2014, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Related: Talking insurance coverage without rocking the boat Costly boating accidents Sadly, there are thousands of recreational boating accidents per year. Contributing factors to these accidents include traveling too fast for water or weather conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to follow boating rules and regulations, carelessness and inexperience. A recreational boating accident must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard if: a person dies or is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid; if damage to the boat or other property exceeds $2,000; if the boat is lost or if a person disappears from the boat. Alcohol, drugs and boating don’t mix The U.S. Coast Guard says that alcohol, combined with typical conditions such as motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray can impair a person’s abilities much faster than alcohol consumption on land. Operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.10% are estimated to be more than 10 times more likely to be killed in an accident than operators with zero BAC. Related: Summer can be the riskiest time of year According to the I.I.I., alcohol was a contributing factor in 306 recreational watercraft accidents in 2015 (7.4% of all accidents), accounting for 122 deaths (19.5% of all deaths) and 258 injuries (9.9% of all injuries). Other primary contributing factors were operator inattention, resulting in 58 deaths; and operator inexperience, accounting for 37 deaths. Additional key findings about boating accidents, include the following: 6% of fatal boating accident victims died by drowning in 2015, and of those, 85% were not wearing life jackets. The most common types of watercraft involved in reported accidents in 2015 were open motorboats (45%), personal watercraft, like Jet Skis and WaveRunners (19%) and cabin motorboats (17%). (Photo: Shutterstock) Top 10 states for recreational watercraft accidents (2015) Following are the top 10 states for recreational watercraft accidents in 2015. These numbers from the I.I.I., using data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard, include accidents involving $2,000 or more in property damage and include watercraft such as motorboats, sail boats and other vessels, such as Jet Skis: 10. Tennessee No. of accidents: 107. Property damage: $493,000. People injured: 65. Deaths: 13. Related: Top 15 boating insurance coverage issues agents and brokers need to know (Photo: Shutterstock) 9. Missouri No. of accidents: 109. Property damage: $817,000. People injured: 70. Deaths: 17. (Photo: Shutterstock) 8. New Jersey No. of accidents: 122. Property damage: $134,000. People injured: 64. Deaths: 8. (AP Photo/Daily News) 7. South Carolina No. of accidents: 123. Property damage: $958,000. People injured: 80. Deaths: 17. (AP Photo/J. Spencer Jones) 6. Maryland No. of accidents: 146. Property damage: $1,074,000. People injured: 125. Deaths: 21. (Photo: Shutterstock) 5. Texas No. of accidents: 154. Property damage: $792,000. People injured: 105. Deaths: 44. (Photo: Shutterstock) 4. North Carolina No. of accidents: 162. Property damage: $1,492,000. People injured: 90. Deaths: 20. (Photo: Shutterstock) 3. New York No. of accidents: 174. Property damage: $1,120,000. People injured: 96. Deaths: 16. (Photo: Shutterstock) 2. California No. of accidents: 369. Property damage: $3,101,000. People injured: 227. Deaths: 48. This photo, made available by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, shows the damaged front of a 13-foot boat that six teenagers were riding before they collided with a bridge on the Middle River in Wilton Manors, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. One teenager died and five were injured. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP) 1. Florida No. of accidents: 671. Property damage: $9,770,000. People injured: 390. Deaths: 52. Related: Know the ropes: 5 ways to reduce risk and 5 coverage consideration for boat owners Top 10 states for watercraft theft (2015) There were 5,031 watercraft thefts in the U.S. in 2015, down 3% from 2014, according to an analysis of federal government data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Of these watercraft thefts, 2,114, or 42%, were recovered by May 15, 2016. Personal watercraft (Jet Skis, WaveRunners, etc.) were the most frequently stolen watercraft, with 1,108 thefts, followed by runabouts (678), utility boats (278), cruisers (181) and sailboats (52). July saw the highest number of reported thefts (612), and February had the fewest (251). Here are the top 10 states for watercraft thefts in 2015:


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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