USCG 2008 Accident Statistics

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:

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Filed under Boat Operation, Boating Safety, The Boating Environment

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