Through the first six months of the year there have been 28 Florida boating deaths, including one in Lee County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2011 Boating Accident Statistical Report.
Sixty-seven boaters lost their lives in Florida in 2011 boating accidents.
"Last year at this time there were 29 reported fatalities," said Katie Purcell, FWC community relations coordinator.
Lee County ranks No. 6 among all 67 Florida counties with 47 boating accidents through the first six months of the year.
The FWC compiles boating accident data for the state, including the causes. The most frequent cause of the 47 Lee County accidents so far this year, which ranks No. 6 out of all 67 counties, is swamping with nine accidents followed closely by eight collisions with fixed objects and six vessel collisions.
"The frequency of boating accidents in Florida and their causes would probably shock most people," said investigator Andy Bickel of the FWC Division of Law Enforcement.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents.
"There's an easy fix. Wear a life jacket," Bickel said.
When someone ends up in the water, often it's too late to put on a life jacket, he said. The leading type of accident continues to be boaters colliding with other boats or objects.
The only Lee County boating fatality so far this year occurred aboard a 15-foot Creek Craft July 4 at the southwest point of Matlacha Pass near St. James City.
Francis Knutson, 65, of St. James toppled overboard. Registered boat owner Murray Whatley, 60, jumped in the water and helped Knutson get back aboard.
The boat immediately headed for shore to call 911. Knutson was pronounced dead at 10:54 p.m., according to investigator Jason Cooke of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Cause of death has not been established and the incident remains under investigation.