Florida Public Health Review


Mary Martinasek

Publication Date

April 2009


Florida has over one million registered boaters not including the plethora of canoes and other paddle craft for which registration is not required. Whereas wearing a seatbelt in a car is regulated by law and has become a routine practice for the majority of Floridians, wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) while boating is neither mandatory nor routine. Florida has ranked first annually among states in boating fatalities since 2003, and accounted for 10.9% of the total number of U.S. boating deaths in 2006. This commentary argues for making PFD use mandatory in an environment where the social norm is absence of use.