Over the past year, Florida has experienced a dramatic increase in boat traffic on its waterways.
Boating magazine reports, “The Covid-19 pandemic fueled a massive increase in boating activity last year. The peak came during the summer months, when people who had been under pandemic-related lockdowns since March took to the water in record numbers.”
With so many people desperate to get out of the house and recreate, new and used boat sales surged. “A large percentage of boats were sold to first-time buyers,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance agency.
The pandemic saw an increase in boat sales, boat insurance policies taken out, boat insurance claims and an increase in calls for towing assistance. While many boats were sold, the US Coast Guard says boating education fell off.
According to The US Coast Guard 2020 Recreational Boating Statistics accidents, injuries and fatalities were all significantly higher compared to the previous year. The stats show a 25-26 percent increase in accidents, injuries and fatalities.
The report explains the top five reasons for problems include, operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed and a new one to the list, machinery failure.
The most common vessel types involved in accidents were open motorboats (46 percent), personal watercraft (22 percent) and cabin motorboats (13 percent).
“Boat safety is a growing concern with so many boat operators being first-time owners and the increase in boat rentals,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance agency.
If you are a first-time boat owner or plan to rent a boat, look into boater education programs before your maiden voyage. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is a great resource for educational requirements and programs in your area.
While having the proper boat insurance cannot prevent accidents, but it will certainly help in the unfortunate case of damage occurring. Contact GreatFlorida Insurance for coverage on all types of vessels large and small. We can take care of all your boat insurance needs.