Saturday, August 7, 2010

Recreational Boating Statistics 2009 report shows rise in deaths

 WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety released its Recreational Boating Statistics 2009 report last Tuesday that reveals a 3.81 percent increase in boating accident deaths and a 0.81 percent increase in related injuries, even though the number of boating accidents decreased 1.23 percent.


In 2009, the Coast Guard counted 4730 accidents that involved 736 deaths, 
3358 injuries and approximately $36 million dollars of damage to property as a result 
of recreational boating accidents. 

The fatality rate was 5.8 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.  
This rate represents a 3.6% increase from last year’s fatality rate of 5.6 
deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. 

Compared to 2008, the number of accidents decreased 1.23%, the number 
of deaths increased 3.81% and the number of injuries increased 0.81%. 

Almost three-fourths of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 
eighty-four (84) percent were not reported as wearing a life jacket. 

Only fourteen percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received  
boating safety instruction. 

Seven out of every ten boaters who drowned were using boats less than 21 feet in 

Operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, improper lookout and 
alcohol rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. 

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed 
as the leading factor in 16% of the deaths. 

Eighteen children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2009.  50% of the 
children who died in 2009 died from drowning.  44% of those who drowned were 
wearing a life jacket as required to do so by state law. 

The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open  
motorboats (46%), personal watercraft (22%), and cabin motorboats (14%).   

The 12,721,541 boats registered by the states in 2009 represent a 0.23%  
increase from last year when 12,692,892 boats were registered. 

“The data in the 2009 publication echoes the message that life jacket wear is critical,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, the Coast Guard’s Director of Prevention Policy. “Nearly 75 percent of the 736 people who died in boating accidents in 2009 drowned, and 84 percent of those victims reportedly were not wearing a life jacket. The two most important things boaters can do to prevent the loss of life is to wear a life jacket and take a boater education course.”

The complete Recreational Boating Statistics 2009 report is here.

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