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Keys Lead Florida In Boating Accidents — Again

photo of a boat that crashed into mangroves in key largo May 15th of this year.
A Key Largo man died on May 16 after his boat crashed into some mangroves.

As people get ready to head out onto the water in large numbers over the holiday weekend, the state has released its annual report on accidents. The Keys are in the top spot — as they have been for 11 out of the last 14 years.

Florida has nearly 1 million registered vessels, the most of any state. And there's another estimated million that aren't registered, like kayaks and canoes.

In 2020, the state had 836 reportable boating accidents. Seventy-nine people died.

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A boating accident is considered "reportable" when someone dies; a person disappears under circumstances that indicate possible death or injury; someone is injured beyond what immediate first aid can treat; damage to the boat, boats or other property is more than $2,000; or there is a total loss of the vessel.

In 2020, Monroe County led the state with 99 accidents and nine fatalities. Miami-Dade ranked second and Palm Beach County came in third. Broward is not in the top 10.

Since 2007, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties have topped the list. Monroe was in first every year except for 2013 through 2015, when it swapped places with Miami-Dade.

Alcohol or drug use is reported to play a role in 23% of boating fatalities.

Want to keep up with the latest stories out of the Florida Keys like this one? Sign up for The Tieline, our newsletter focused on all things Keys and Monroe County. The newsletter will arrive in your inbox every two weeks and is written and curated by WLRN’s southernmost reporter Nancy Klingener. She shares her reporting, the latest news out of the Keys and much more. Head here to sign up.

A chart from the FWC report shows the top 10 counties in Florida for boating accidents in 2020.
Monroe County had the most boating accidents in Florida in 2020, according to the FWC. Miami-Dade was second, while Palm Beach County was third.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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