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Old 09-10-2019, 10:32 AM   #1
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2018 USCG Recreational Boating Statistic Report

This is from NOWS

News Release: U.S. Coast Guard releases 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report - Stats on Powerboating Included

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report Tuesday, revealing that there were 633 boating fatalities nationwide in 2018, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2017.

From 2017 to 2018, overall recreational boating injuries also decreased 4.5 percent (2,629 to 2,511), and the total number of accidents decreased 3.4 percent (4,291 to 4,145).

“While these decreases are encouraging, there are still too many deaths and injuries that could be avoided through the use of life jackets and eliminating alcohol consumption while operating a boat,” said Capt. Scott Johnson, chief of the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety at Coast Guard Headquarters.

Alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2018, accounting for 100 deaths, or 19 percent of total fatalities.

“It is heartbreaking to realize that more than 100 people could still be alive today had alcohol use been curbed,” Johnson said.

Half of a boating party perished in Alabama in July 2018 when an inebriated passenger bumped into the operator, who had also been drinking, which caused the operator to swerve and crash into a bridge piling at about 25 mph. Two people were killed, including one who was struck by the boat’s propeller. The operator had a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.15, nearly twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08.

“This was just one tragedy that could have been prevented by removing alcohol from the day’s activities,” Johnson said. “Anyone who’s spent long periods of time out on the water knows that alcohol consumption, when combined with fatigue from sun and wind exposure, will severely hinder a person’s ability to make good decisions and maintain awareness of their surroundings.”

The report also shows that in 2018:
The fatality rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, which tied as the third lowest rate in the program’s history. This rate represents a 3.6 percent decrease from last year’s fatality rate of 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
Property damage totaled about $46 million.
Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and excessive speed ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

Where the cause of death was known, 77 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

“It’s so important for a boater to always wear a life jacket and to make sure that it is serviceable, properly sized, and correctly worn,” Johnson said.” He noted that a number of deaths involved inflatable life jackets that had expired cartridges or life jackets that were not buckled, thus making them ineffective as lifesaving devices.

Where boating instruction was known, 74 percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. The Coast Guard recommends that all boaters take a boating safety course that meets the National Boating Education Standards prior to getting out on the water.

The most common vessel types involved in reported accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats. Where vessel type was known, the vessel types with the highest percentage of deaths were open motorboats (50 percent), kayaks (13.5 percent), and canoes (7 percent).

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to boat responsibly on the water: wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course, attach the engine cut-off switch, get a free vessel safety check, and boat sober.

“We thank our boating safety partners for their efforts,” said Johnson. “Together we strive to reduce loss of life, injuries and property damage by improving the knowledge, skill and abilities of recreational boaters.”

To view the 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics, visit

For more information on boating responsibly, visit

The NOWS Program aims to continue the help reduce powerboating fatalities, see NOWS resources on

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Old 09-10-2019, 12:33 PM   #2
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When I looked at these stats, the smaller boats were involved the most which makes sense. There are more numerous smaller boats, there is less commitment to learning boat/navigation/safety boating. Since smaller boats are often used as cars so to speak, they are more likely to have inebriated folk at the helm.

And in our world, a guy is more likely to get in a dinghy at a marina stinking drunk thinking he only has to go 300 yards to his boat, again the smaller boat generating the statistic.

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Old 09-10-2019, 01:17 PM   #3
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It is informative to watch some of the youtube boat accident videos. In almost all cases it seems that people were going too fast, didn't know the waters, and/or didn't know know the rules of the road. I'm sure many involved alcohol or just not paying attention. There's a great video of a Washington State Ferry and a motor yacht colliding because the motoryacht was on autopilot with no one watching -luckily in that case it was only property damage.

As I've gotten older I'm more cautious and aware of what MIGHT go wrong than when I was young. My wife and I now wear inflateable vests whenever the boat is underway.

Being involved in both crusing and small boats I'm struck by the trailer boat crowd that thinks the be all end all of boating is how fast you get the boat on/off the trailer, not how you actually operate the boat.
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