RECREATIONAL BOATING SAFETY FACTS

All figures are from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2015 Recreational Boating Safety Statistics, the latest official record of reported recreational boating accidents. Full report available at: http://uscgboating.org.

  • Drowning was reported as the cause of death in three-fourths of all fatalities.
  • Approximately 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
  • In 2015, the Coast Guard counted 4,158 accidents that involved 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries and approximately $42 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
  • The fatality rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 1.9% increase from last year’s fatality rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
  • Only 15 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure and excessive speed as the top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 17% of deaths.
  • Twenty-two children under age thirteen lost their lives while boating in 2015. Twelve children, or approximately 55% of the children who died in 2015 died from drowning. (Two children, 17%, of those who drowned were wearing a life jacket; half of the remaining ten children were not wearing a life jacket and were not required to do so under state law.)
  • Where data was known, the most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (45%), personal watercraft (19%), and cabin motorboats (17%).

National Recreational Boating Statistics

  • Fatalities: 626
  • Drownings: 428
  • Injuries (requiring medical treatment beyond first aid): 2,613
  • Boating Accidents: 4,158
  • Property Damage: $41,832,634
  • Number of registered recreational boats in the U.S.: 11,867,049

Top-Ranking States for Boating Deaths

  1. Florida: 52
  2. California: 48
  3. Texas: 44
  4. Washington: 29
  5. Michigan: 24
  6. Georgia/Louisiana (tie): 22
  7. Alabama/Maryland (tie): 21
  8. Kentucky/North Carolina/Wisconsin: 20
  9. Minnesota: 18
  10. Missouri/South Carolina (tie): 17

Top-Ranking States for Reported Boating Accidents

  1. Florida: 671
  2. California: 369
  3. New York: 174
  4. North Carolina: 162
  5. Texas: 154
  6. Maryland: 146
  7. South Carolina: 123
  8. New Jersey: 122
  9. Missouri: 109
  10. Tennessee/Washington (tie): 107