Dying to get on Florida water? With record numbers, make boat safety priority | Our View

A day on the water is the best day of the week. Everything will go according to plan. Every once in a while, the best plans go wrong.

National Safe Boating Week takes place from May 21 to 27. The number of vessels registered in Florida more than doubled last year to more than one million. There are tens of thousands of paddle crafts, including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.


According to the Boating Accident Statistical Report released this month by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, boaters in the state need to be more careful with their vessels. As more and more vessels flood coastal waters, safe boating practices will be more important.


Federal legislation would require better boaters to be accommodated on the bridge. Boaters will be affected by Brightline’s work on drawbridges. Boating under the influence, or BUI, happens on the Treasure Coast. Sixty, (60) people were killed and an estimated 20 million dollars in property damage were caused by boaters in Florida last year. Accidents and deaths were down since 2020 More than 500 boaters and their passengers left the dock ready for a day of fun in the sun only to have the day end in tragedy. There were 43 accidents on the Treasure Coast. There were four people who died. There were 42,794 vessels registered in the three counties in the year 2000. Miami-Dade had the highest number of accidents with 95. There were a lot of accidents in Monroe County.

The last time a Treasure Coast county had a high number of accidents was in 2019. The most common causes of accidents were collisions with vessels or fixed objects. There is a problem with Florida’s boating accident data. There has been an increase in the number of vessels registered in Florida over the last three years. A lot of people are moving to Florida. If all we wanted was nice weather, Henry Caimotto used to say, we could all move to Arizona. We are going to be on the water. As the region’s population grows, so will traffic on its waterways. One in fifteen residents owned a vessel in the region in 2011. According to the Florida Department of State, the Treasure Coast could grow by more than 100,000 residents in the next two decades.


Indian River County is located in India.

The 2020 population is 156,962.
There are 10,856 vessels in the year 2020.
The number of vessels per person is 1 per 14.5 people.
The population is expected to be 181,673 by the year 2030.
The vessels will be estimated in the next 20 years.


The 2020 population is over 300,000.
There are 15,199 vessels in the year 2020.
The number of vessels per capita is 1 per 21 people.
There will be a population of over 400,000 in the year 2030.
Estimated vessels for the next 20 years.

Martin County is located in the United States.

160,420 people are expected in 2020.
There are 16,739 vessels in the year 2020.
1 in 9.6 people have vessels.


The population is expected to be 177,612 by the year 2030. Estimated vessels for the next 20 years: 18,500. Accidents and deaths on the Treasure Coast waterways are expected to increase annually from about 40 to 50 and from an average of 3 to 6 in the next 20 years. It’s inherent upon boaters to obtain proper education, to follow regulations, to maintain safety equipment, and to wear life jackets in order to remain safe on the water. The boat should be enjoyable. A day on the water is one of the best days a person can have. It should not end in tragedy. At six o’clock, lights flashing, the sheriff’s boat sets forth and guides the Parade and the appointed lead boat out onto the Intracoastal Waterway.


A majestic line of decorated boats, cruisers and sail boats interspersed with canoes and kayaks begins its serene procession down a black velvet corridor of lights. Boat horns blast in call and response to tooting car horns and cheers from hundreds of fervent spectators lining the shore.

The Parade, one of the community’s most highly anticipated events, is now in its 39th year. Palm Coasters have enjoyed this unique annual celebration for two generations. The parade’s success is due wholly to the enthusiastic participation of boaters from all over Palm Coast and neighboring communities, the numbers growing year after year.

It all began in 1984 with a group of boaters who would soon form the Palm Coast Yacht Club. The second year ITT, the founders of Palm Coast, made it a contest with a grand prize a trip to Italy. But the Club soon eschewed that format and offered it as an event purely in the spirit of a happily non-competitive sharing of community holiday spirit.


The official parade has continued without interruption ever since, with the exception of 2013 when the parade was called “because of tornado” and held the following evening, and again during the 2020 pandemic when an informal group of boaters formed a small but enthusiastic ad-hoc parade for the benefit of on-lookers. Last year, as the world came back together, the official Parade was back in full force with 74 officially registered boats and many others.

Once again, Flagler Broadcasting is providing live, on-site coverage of the event, offering holiday music with vivid color commentary and descriptions of the boats accompanied by call-outs and live interviews with participants on the water and the shore. “The Queen of Jazz,” Linda Cole, will be on the air along with Flagler Broadcasting’s David Ayers and the eminent Priscilla Netts of Palm Coast.

Grand Marshalls on the lead boad are David Alfin, Mayor of Palm Coast, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, and Palm Coast Yacht Club Commodore Daniella Crawford. This year the Parade is dedicated to the late Joe Rizzo, long-time champion of the Flagler County School System and executive director of the Flagler Education Foundation.

Departing from the Cimmaron Basin, the Parade will pass the Tidelands, Marina Cove, the Hammock, Yacht Harbor Village, and the Palm Coast Legacy Vacation Resort. It will then proceed under the Hammock Dunes Bridge along St. Joe’s Walkway and Canopy Walk, pass by Island Estates, Waterfront Park, and Grand Haven before dispersing at the Clubhouse Waterway. The Parade will be escorted by boats from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, TowBoatUS, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Parade is supported in part by the Florida Inland Navigation District.

Parking continues to be available near European Village for viewing along St. Joe’s Walkway, Canopy Walk, and at Waterfront Park.