Lee County Extension
Social Marketing and Boating Safety

Social Marketing and Boating Safety Project Summary


Florida has been one of the top two states in reportable boating accidents in the past several years (FWC, 2009). In 2009 there were 620 reportable boating accidents and 65 fatalities of which 69% were from drowning, 29% from trauma and 2% were from unknown causes.  In 2008, there were 657 accidents and 54 fatalities of which 70% were from drowning and 30% from injuries (FWC, 2008).


Lee County, with a population of 586,908 residents in 2009, reported 24 boating accidents in 2009 with 1 fatality, placing it among the top ten boating fatality counties in Florida (FWC, 2009).The majority of Florida’s recreational boating deaths reported in 2009 were due to victims either falling overboard or capsizing their boat, resulting in drowning among 69% of the victims.  Although there may be other contributing factors such as inexperience and alcohol use, a Social Marketing & Boating Safety Social Marketing Plan --USF Center for Social Marketing consistent factor noted in the drowning deaths was non-use of a personal floatation device (PFD).

 Lee County’s Division of Natural Resources Marine Program (DNR-MP) and Florida Sea Grant (FSG) conducted a social marketing project to develop a plan for improving voluntary PFD wear rates among adult recreational boaters. Working cooperatively with the University of South Florida Center for Social Marketing, a mixed-method, research design was used to achieve the research objectives.  The results of the study can be found below.

Final Marketing Plan

Social Marketing and Boating Safety Final Report Interviews

Lee County PFD Literature Review

Lee County PFD Online Survey Report FINAL

PFD Observational Study Report FINAL

IBWSS Presentation Lee County


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