SEBASTIAN, Fla. - Eighty people died in 69 boating accidents in Florida during 2005, the state's highest number of boating deaths in a decade, according to the recently released 2005 Boating Accident Statistical Report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Thirty of the deaths were caused by people falling or going overboard, the single leading cause of fatalities and a 53 percent increase from 2004, www.tcpalm.com reported in a story on its Web site yesterday.
"We are very concerned about the upward trend in boating fatalities," said Richard Moore, the commission's boating law administrator. "Especially given the fact the vast majority of these are easily preventable. The simple act of wearing a life jacket is your best insurance on the water. Our statistics show that it's mostly swimmers who are drowning when they unexpectedly end up in the water."
None of those who drowned had been wearing life jackets.
Statewide, 60 percent of all boating accidents occurred in 10 counties: usually the state's most populous. From first to 10th, they are Monroe, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward, Pinellas, Lee, Volusia, Collier, Duval and Bay counties.
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