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Some Statistics on Boating Accidents

Boating is an activity enjoyed by people of all ages and with all types of interests. From a leisurely spin around a lake to a high speed Jet Ski ride, boating offers something for everyone. However, like any sport or activity involving motors, there is a certain amount of danger involved in boating. While some states require boat drivers to have a boating license and boating operator safety course, many states simply require that the boat operator be at least 15 or 16 years old. By the numbers, boating is a far safer activity than driving, and few people really stop to consider boating accidents like they do traffic accidents. However, boating accidents do happen with frequency, and following certain safety precautions is always a good idea.

In 2013, the number of fatalities from boating accidents was 560. This is almost 100 fatalities less than 2012, and about 360 less fatalities than in 1991. Clearly, as a country we have become better about boating safety, yet we still have a long way to go. 947 boating accidents last year occurred as a result of boats crashing into “recreational vessels” (other boats). 567 of those accidents, which resulted in 57 deaths, were attributed to operator inattention.

The number one cause of death was drowning, with 398 fatalities. The second highest cause of death was trauma, with 91 deaths. In the case of drowning, 328 of the 398 victims were not wearing life jackets, and a further 9 victims are unknown to have worn a life jacket or not. This number alone should be a sign that wearing a life jacket while boating could save a boater’s life.

While drowning is the leading cause of death, alcohol is the leading cause of accidents, with alcohol being a contributing factor in a third of all boating deaths. By wearing life jackets while boating and by not consuming alcohol before operating a boat, people could prevent almost a third of all accidents, and much more than a third of all deaths.*

If you are involved in a maritime accident, contact Sinclair Law today.

*All statistics courtesy of title=”” target=”_blank”>