What Did the Coast Guard Find in Last Year’s Statistics Report for Recreational Boating?

On May 29, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) released a report that highlights statistics on recreational boating injuries and fatalities in 2017. Some of the statistics that were outlined in the report are alarming.

What Did the Statistics Show About Boating Injuries and Fatalities?

The statistics in the report showed some positive improvements in the amount of injuries and fatalities at sea. Additional figures show that common water hazards continue to cause fatalities each year.

  • There were 658 recreational boating fatalities nationwide in 2017, which is a 6.1 percent decrease from 2016.
  • Recreational boating injuries decreased by 9.4 percent from 2016 to 2017.
  • The total number of recreational boating accidents decreased 3.9 percent from 2016. Unfortunately, the report also shows that 2017 had the second highest rate of fatalities on record in the past five years.
  • The fatality rate for recreational boating accidents was 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational boats in 2017. This is a 6.8 percent decrease from the previous year’s fatality rate of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • Alcohol is still a primary contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, with 19 percent of deaths resulting in alcohol-related factors.
  • Other factors in recreational boating accidents include operator distraction, improper awareness and lookout, operator inexperience and machine failure.
  • 81 percent of deaths happened on boats where operators did not have property boating safety instructions.
  • Property damage for 2017 totaled at $46 million.

The decreasing numbers of recreational boating deaths are promising, but the USCG still recommends that boaters take all important safety precautions in order to prevent injuries and fatalities. Wearing a life jacket, taking boating safety classes, attaching an engine cut-off switch and getting a vessel safety check are ways to be cautious while boating this summer.

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