Leading causes of recreational boating accidents and fatalities.
From January to June of 1999 seventeen people died in recreational boating accidents in Washington state. This is double the number of boating fatalities reported in 1998 in Washington.
At the end of June last year, nine recreational boating fatalities were reported in Washington. Fifteen deaths were reported for all of 1998 in Washington.
More than half of all recreational boating fatalities involve alcohol use. Not only is drinking while boating dangerous, it’s also illegal. In Washington, a blood alcohol content level of .08 or more is considered to be under the influence. Boating under the influence can draw a civil penalty of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail.
According to research, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 is ten times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than a boater with a zero blood alcohol concentration. The combination of sun, wind, noise, vibration, and boat motion can triple the effects of alcohol.
Boating-related fatalities now rank second only to car crashes as the cause of transportation-related deaths in the United States. More people die in boating accidents every year than in airplane crashes, train wrecks, or in bus accidents.
Most boating accidents involve operator controlled factors:
- choosing not to wear a life jacket
- boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- operator inattention or carelessness
For Coast Guard Auxiliary safe boating courses in you area call (800) 982-8813 (option *6).
Useful quotes and statistics from Coast Guard 13th District boating safety.
Fatal Boating Accidents
- Capsizing and Falls overboard account for over
70% of boating fatalities
- 80% occur on boats less than 26 feet
- 80% occur where operators had no formal boating instruction
- More than 50% of recreational boating accidents involve alcohol
"Coast Guard statistics show that the application of a few simple safety rules could prevent most boating accidents and fatalities," Dolph Diemont, Coast Guard 13th District boating safety specialist.
"Don’t drink and boat. Boating statistics show that more than half of all recreational boating fatalities involve alcohol use,"
"Wear your life jackets. Nine out of ten people who drown in boating accidents aren’t wearing a life jacket. The most important survival technique is putting on your life jacket before you need it,"
"Don’t overload you boat. Whenever you exceed the boat’s capacity for people or equipment you are asking for trouble. Seventy percent of boating fatalities are from falls overboard, capsizing or both,"
"Use extreme caution around other boats, swimmers and skiers." The best way to avoid an accident is to learn the rules of the road and respect the rights of other boaters," Diemont.
"Be weather-wise. Check the forecast before you go and bring a radio to regularly check weather reports," Diemont.