Boating statistics show increase for second straight year
According to recently released U.S. Coast Guard Boating Statistics for 2006, boating accidents resulted in 710 deaths, 3,474 injuries and $43,670,424 in property damage—an increase for the second consecutive year despite a 2 percent decrease in the number of registered boats.
The report suggests a correlation between boating fatalities and lack of boating education, failure to use personal flotation devices and alcohol consumption. Here are some highlights:
- Two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those who drowned, a staggering 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
- A lack of boat operator instruction accounted for 71.3 percent of fatalities.
- Of the 710 fatalities, 133 were due to alcohol abuse.
- Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all reported fatalities.
- Nearly twice as many children drowned in 2006 compared with 2005.
- Boaters are more likely to perish if involved in an accident during fall and winter.
The data indicate that the simple use of PFDs and responsible consumption of alcohol while at sea will significantly reduce the occurrence of fatal accidents. It is also imperative that boat operators are properly educated to ensure the safety of themselves and those aboard. Take advantage of the many boating education courses offered by USPS and your local squadron.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the United States Coast Guard, is in its 48th year of releasing its Boating Statistics report to the public. While only a small percentage of minor boating-related injuries are reported to the Coast Guard each year, virtually all serious injuries or fatalities are believed to be reflected in the report.