Explanation of Indicator
Florida is home to twelve deepwater public ports which have acted as growth centers for water-dependent economic activities. Associated with these ports is the presence of commercial shipping to various in-state and out-of-state destinations with a variety of cargo from oranges to fossil fuels. With the high level of shipping activity, navigational accidents are inevitable and these accidents may pose a risk to coastal residents and visitors, especially if hazardous materials are involved.
The United States Coast Guard, the agency responsible for responding to navigational shipping accidents, maintains a database containing records for each accident showing date, location, casualties, vessel size/classification and other information.
The Marine Casualty Database is maintained by the Program Support Division, U.S. Coast Guard, 2100 2nd Street S.W., Washington D.C. 20593-0001. Contact Lieutenant Joe Keating at (202) 267-2679 for additional information.
The data are available on 9-track 1/2" reel-to-reel tape in ASCII format for an approximate cost of $200; the information is also available in an 8mm tape format. To obtain the data, send a Freedom of Information Act request to the Commandant (G-TPS-2) at the above address requesting the Marine Casualty data from 1984 to present.
The Marine Casualty Database contains information from 1984 to the present and is updated continuously. The data are available for the entire U.S.; however, the information can be sorted by location for Florida-specific requests.
The primary limitation is financial due to the cost of obtaining the data. In addition, the format of the data requires special equipment; however, that equipment is found at many universities and state agencies.
The Florida Coastal Management Program should decide whether this indicator is important enough to merit an investment of time and money in data acquisition. If a decision is made to purchase the data, construction of an indicator showing change in navigational shipping accidents since 1984 should be relatively simple.