Each year the United States Coast Guard compiles boating accident statistics from the States and Territories who report into the recreational boat numbering and casualty reporting systems. Below is a synopsis of their findings.
- In 2008, the Coast Guard counted 4789 accidents that involved 709 deaths, 3331 injuries and approximately $54 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
- Over two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, ninety (90) percent were not wearing a life jacket.
- Only ten 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 length.
- Careless/reckless operation, operator inattention, no proper lookout, operator inexperience and passenger/skier behavior 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 17% of the deaths.
- Eleven children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2008. 63% of the children who died in 2008 died from drowning.
- The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (43%), personal watercraft (23%), and cabin motorboats (15%).
- The 12,692,892 boats registered by the states in 2008 represent a 1.4% decrease from last year when 12,875,568 boats were registered.
You can download the complete 3.8 MB PDF report from: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/Publications/Boating_Statistics_2008.pdf