Boating Safety Statistics

As the unofficial end of summer approaches, Labor Day weekend will mean that our waterways will be congested with boaters for what may be the last time this summer.  While it’s not related to many workplaces, we thought it was important to remind us all about the risks related to boating. 

Boating remains a safe, enjoyable way for people to recreate.  However the United States Coast Guard (USCG)  has announced while the number of deaths decreased in 2007, data shows a significant rise in the number of boating accidents, related injury incidents, and property damage.  Any death or accident is too many, especially considering that the vast majority could have been prevented through simple, responsible behavior on the part of owners and operators.

Operator inattention, careless and reckless operation, passenger or skier behavior, excess speed, and alcohol use remain the top five classes of contributing factors related to recreational boating accidents. Alcohol use leads as the primary contributing factor in 21% of the fatal boating accidents. Other disturbing statistics are that three quarters of all boat operators involved in a fatal accident have received no formal boating safety education and with drowning shown as the leading cause of death in fatal boating accidents, 90 percent of these victims were not wearing life jackets.

As the summer is winding down and the wind is getting cooler, boaters, especially sailors, continue boating on the water until the early frost.  If you are on the water, here are some things to remember to ensure your safety: 

  • Wear your life jacket – Personal flotation devices (PFD’s, or life jackets) should be worn and zipped when on a dock, in a boat, or near the water.

  • Keep an eye on the weather – check the weather with a portable marine radio to keep track of the ever changing weather and seas, wind speed (or gusts), wave height and air temperature. 

  • Conduct a periodic check of all equipment to ensure everything is in working order.

  • Make sure you know your swimming ability prior to going out on the water.

  • Exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer and eye damage.  Protection from the sun is as important as a proper PFD.  Sun block (at least an SPF 15), hat and properly filtered sunglasses with a lanyard are all ways to decrease the risk.  It is also necessary to drink adequate water to prevent dehydration no matter the temperature when being exposed to the sun.


Posted by Donna Santamaria